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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 23 September 2012 by Will Emerson

Welcome to the season finale of Field of Streams! One final  in depth look at some viable, and some not so viable, fantasy streaming options for the upcoming fantasy week. The major league, and thus fantasy, baseball season is winding down so there will be no need to stream pitchers, unless you are in some fantasy baseball league for the major league playoffs, after this week. I know, I’m sad as well folks, but I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. And this is by no means good-bye! Oh no, I will continue to give you something to read on Sundays, so you’ll still have that! Now, as I get into this week’s pitching options, I just want to say this this was one of the most difficult weeks for this. Not a lot of great options jumped out at me and if you are streaming this week, you are most likely in your fantasy championships, so good streaming is important now, more than ever. That’s quite a bit of pressure! Nevertheless, I will press on and without further ado, on with the show! Here comes your look at your fantasy streaming options, owned in less than 50% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues, for the week of 9/24-9/30 (all stats and information are prior to Saturday’s games):

Jake Odorizzi (KC)- One of the many talents in the Royals system, Odorizzi is getting his call up and will make his first start Sunday. So as a streaming option next weekend he is a bit of a wild card. One, because I have no major league appearance to evaluate and two, because you never know exactly who the Tribe will have in their lineup as the season winds down and neither team has much to play for ‘cept maybe their pride. Odorizzi has torn up the minors, most recently at triple-A where he had a 2.93 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Now while I would like to have a look at his first start before getting into what to expect from him against Cleveland, I do like him as a wild card starter. His K/9 went down about four when he made the jump from double to triple -A and his triple-A FIP is over four, so there will be a struggle or two in the majors. However I like him alright enough starting against Cleveland. I feel like he may benefit from not a lot of Indians batters having faced him. Now I cannot give him full fledged stream endorsement, based on the no stats at the major league level, but watch his Sunday start closely and see what you think. He could be the wild card that helps you close the door on that fantasy title. (.2% owned in ESPN and 1% in Yahoo!)

Alex Cobb (TB)- Okay, so Cobber has been up and  down lately, lasting only 4.2 innings against the Os, but then baffling the Red Sox batters over six innings in his next start. To be fair though, his xFIP in that Os start was below two and he did only allow two earned runs in each  of those starts. The fact that he is keeping the ball on the ground, with a rate above 60% in both starts, is good and bad. Good, because those worm burners do not often end up as home runs, but bad because it does put more pressure on your defense and seeing eye singles can hurt him at any time. But he has a good defense behind him, so generally he is in good shape and I am sticking with him this week against the White Sox. (14% owned in ESPN and 22% in Yahoo!)

Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris (HOU)- If you’ve had a heaping helping of Field of Streams in your diet, it should be not be new knowledge that both Budrick and Lucas  have been studs at home this season. Well, if it is new info, then, hey, welcome to the party! These two fellas have been greatastic at home. Yes, they have been so good at home, that I went ahead and created an adjective to describe this goodness. Well both pitchers start the week with a home start, so go ahead and pounce if they are available in your league. Now Norris is only scheduled for the one start, but young Lucas has a second start on the docket, on the road, at Milwaukee (which means land of the good). But what many have not noticed is Harrell is actually pitching fairly decently outside of the Juice Box as well. In his last three road starts he has thrown 18. 2 innings and allowed seven earned runs. Not too shabby, right? And two of those starts were at St.Louis and Cincy. Two good hitting teams. While I would say the second start against the Brew Crew is still not a huge lock, it will be the end of your week and season and with his 19 strikeouts over those 18.2 road innings, he may me nice stream option to finish off your season. (Norris is 24.4% owned in ESPN and 30% in Yahoo! Harrell is 2.8% in ESPN and 11% in Yahoo!)

Marco Estrada (MIL)- The ownership numbers for Ponch are rising, so I am not riding this bandwagon alone, but he is still widely available in ESPN and Yahoo! He did not end up with a two start week last week as expected, so he looks to have two starts on the docket this week. The first start on the road against the Nationals could be bit tougher than other starts, but it could all depend on when the Nats will start resting folks for their playoff run too. I still recommend him and his lovely K/9 over nine in this matchup and for his second start? Well that will be at home against the Disastros, who admittedly are winning at a very high pace (for them anyways) in September, but still…a good matchup for Ponch. (25.6% owned in ESPN and 30% in Yahoo!)

Ross Detwiler (WSH)- Detwiler continues to be more than solid for the Nationals down the stretch. In his last outing against the Dodgers, he tossed six innings and allowed only one measly run. He also struck out five, which is not spectacular, but for Ross Detwiler, he of the 5.68 K/9, this is a good number. In fact he has a rate of 7.5 K/9 over his last two starts, so that is promising, especially if you combine that with his ground ball rate over 50! Now I’m not saying he’s working his way towards a future strikeout crown or anything, but this definitely makes him more appealing as a fantasy option. He faces Tyler Cloyd and the Phils this week, which is not a great matchup, but Mr. Detwiler has been pitching well enough that I would not expect him to get knocked around too much and hurt your pitching numbers by any means. (37.1% owned in ESPN and 39% in Yahoo!)

So there you have it, another season of Field Of Streams in the books! So what did we learn this season, children? 1) Lucas Harrell and Bud Norris have been must starts at home  B) Ks/9 are  the bomb diggity 4) “Ponch” Estrada is more solid than you know and plenty of spots on his bandwagon are still available and F) Alex Cobb and his sexy ground ball rate can be a good get for your fantasy squads. Good day and godspeed!

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An Open Letter to Melky Cabrera

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An Open Letter to Melky Cabrera

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Trish Vignola

Dear Melky,

Can I call you Melky? No, I won’t call you “The Melk Man”. I’m not that brilliant wordsmith, John Sterling.

You were a bright shinning beacon for my otherwise dismal fantasy baseball team. On a team that provided my league with such memorable moves like taking Joey Votto as my first draft pick. Joey Votto? You know Joey Votto – 2010 National League MVP, hitting .342, disabled list. How about Johan Santana? Oh, he was my sleeper pick. Sure, he pitched the first no-hitter in New York Mets franchise history. Now? If his earned run average were a child, it would be entering the first grade.

You though were different. You were the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 All-Star Game. You’re hitting .346, the second highest average in the National League. You have 11 home runs and 60 runs batted in. You lead the major leagues with 159 hits and 84 runs. Did I mention that you are playing for a San Francisco Giants team that was tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West entering today’s games? You sir, kept me from dead last place.

Surprise! Today, you gave me the gift that keeps on giving. You tested positive for testosterone. No, that’s not my fancy way of saying “You da Man!” That is though my fancy way of saying Major League Baseball suspended you for 50 games effective immediately.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to give you a speech about “cheaters never winning” and how I hope the effects of losing the rest of your salary has some impact on your psyche. Based on the false pretense in which you presented your services, I hope this has more of an impact on the Giants accounting department. It’s obvious that you were over paid.

I’m not going to talk about how people would give their eyeteeth for just one shot to do what you do every day. The Giants have 45 games remaining. It looks like you’ll miss the rest of the regular season and then either five games of a playoff run or the first five games of next season. It’s totally not worth it to give our eyeteeth to do what you do now – you know, sitting on your couch watching “Baseball Tonight”.

Dude! You were on a legitimate playoff contender. Do you realize that last year you were on the Kansas City Royals? Seriously. After what you did, my fantasy baseball team might as well BE the Royals.

“My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used,” you said in a statement released by the Major League Baseball Players Association. “I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and I will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down.”

Cue the “NBC ‘The More You Know’ Music.”

I could take the high road. I could release a fantasy statement regarding my fantasy baseball team just like the Giants did. “We were extremely disappointed to learn of the suspension of Melky Cabrera for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention & Treatment Program. We fully support Major League Baseball’s policy and its efforts to eliminate performance-enhancing drugs from our game. Per the protocol outline by Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, the Giants will not comment further on this matter.” But, I am.

As you sit on your butt for the rest of the season, all I hope is that you stay away from R.A. Dickey and you get really fat. If you need me, I’ll be digging my hole deeper until this season finally ends.

Yours truly,


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NL Pitching Planner: May 7 – 13

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NL Pitching Planner: May 7 – 13

Posted on 06 May 2012 by Mark Sherrard

We are now one month into the fantasy baseball season.  Those of you languishing in the middle of the pack, don’t fret, its still early.  Keep diligently setting your lineups each week and hope that the other owners are getting lackadaisical.

To help you along, here are the two start pitchers and favorable matchups for week 6, as well as the results from week 4 and YTD:

Two-Start Pitchers


Roy Halladay: 5/7 vs NYM; 5/13 vs SD – Phillies ace gets to face to weak teams

Wandy Rodriguez: 5/7 vs MIA; 5/13 @ PIT – has pitched well, just don’t expect any wins

Lance Lynn: 5/7 @ ARI; 5/13 vs ATL – ride him while he’s hot

No Brainers results

Week 4 – 1 GS, 1 QS, 0 W, 6.1 IP, 7 H+BB, 7 K’s, 3 ER, 4.26 ERA, 1.11 whip (rough week for the no-brainers)

YTD – 17 GS, 14 QS, 6 W, 106.2 IP, 118 H+BB, 108 K’s, 31 ER, 2.62 ERA, 1.11 whip

Not Too Shabby

Tommy Hanson: 5/7 @ CHC; 5/13 @ STL – Cardinals lead the NL in runs scored, Cubs are 12th

Jonathon Niese: 5/7 @ PHI; 5/13 @ MIA – Phillies miss Chase Utley & Ryan Howard, Marlins are 14th in runs

Edwin Jackson: 5/8 @ PIT; 5/13 @ CIN – Pirates are last in runs scored, Reds are 11th

Joe Saunders: 5/7 vs STL; 5/13 vs SF – Giants offense takes a hit with Sandoval injury, Cardinals are a concern though

Jeff Samardzija: 5/7 vs ATL; 5/13 @ MIL – has been a pleasant surprise so far

Ted Lilly: 5/7 vs SF; 5/13 vs COL – Rockies are last in runs scored on the road

Edinson Volquez: 5/7 vs COL; 5/13 @ PHI – Phillies are 14th in runs scored at home

Carlos Zambrano: 5/7 @ HOU; 5/13 vs NYM – I don’t entirely trust him, but he has favorable matchups

Bronson Arroyo: 5/7 @ MIL; 5/13 vs WAS – 18/3 K/BB ratio is impressive.  Can he keep it up?

Marco Estrada: 5/7 vs CIN; 5/13 vs CHC – borderline risky, but matchups are nice

Not too shabby results

Week 4 – 21 GS, 16 QS, 9 W, 133.0 IP, 160 H+BB, 105 K’s, 41 ER, 2.77 ERA, 1.20 whip

YTD – 61 GS, 43 QS, 24 W, 382.2 IP, 443 H+BB, 293 K’s, 117 ER, 2.75 ERA, 1.16 whip

Risky at best

A.J. Burnett: 5/8 vs WAS; 5/13 vs HOU – you don’t need K’s THIS bad

Alex White: 5/7 @ SD; 5/13 @ LAD – replaces Jhoulys Chacin in rotation, but not trustworthy yet.

Barry Zito: 5/7 @ LAD; 5/13 @ ARI – I just don’t trust him

Risky at best results

Week 4 – 3 GS, 2 QS, 1 W, 20.3 IP, 23 H+BB, 15 K’s, 7 ER, 3.10 ERA, 1.13 whip

YTD – 25 GS, 13 QS, 8 W, 151.3 IP, 193 H+BB, 102 K’s, 74 ER, 4.40 ERA, 1.28 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Anibal Sanchez: 5/8 @ HOU

On a roll and facing an Astros team he owns to the tune of 3-1, 2.48 for his career.

Zack Greinke: 5/9 vs CIN

3-0 with 2.57 ERA and 38 K’s in 28 career IP against the Reds

Stephen Strasburg: 5/10 @ PIT

Strasburg against the worst hitting team in the NL.  Umm…yeah.

Johan Santana:  5/11 @ MIA

Santana is an incredible 6-1 with a 1.46 ERA in his career against the Marlins.

Cole Hamels: 5/12 vs SD

7-2 with a career 2.22 ERA against the Padres, who are only scoring a little over 3 runs a game this year

Other favorable matchups results

Week 4 – 2 GS, 1 QS, 1 W, 13.1 IP, 19 H+BB, 13 K’s, 5 ER, 3.38 ERA, 1.43 whip

YTD – 11 GS, 6 QS, 7 W, 66.0 IP, 82 H+BB, 60 K’s, 19 ER, 2.59 ERA, 1.24 whip

Next up is the AL matchups.

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Finding Keepers: Kansas City Royals

Posted on 06 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The Kansas City Royals probably aren’t going to factor into any playoff scenarios this season but many of their young players will help you build a solid fantasy baseball team to make a run at your league’s championship title.

In the latest installment of Finding Keepers, I’ll take a look at the Kansas City Royals players on their 40-man roster you should be considering as “keepers” heading into the 2012 fantasy baseball season.

1B Eric Hosmer is primed to make a run at the upper echelon of fantasy baseball first basemen in 2012. In 128 games in 2011, he hit .293 with 19 home runs with 11 stolen bases. If his Spring Training numbers (.398 BA, 33 hits and 29 RBI in 28 games) are any indicator of things to come, fantasy owners who locked him up as their starting first baseman have nothing to worry about this season (and beyond).  His ADP is currently 52.06 and ranks: ESPN #45; Yahoo! #58; CBS #106.

OF Alex Gordon put together the season fantasy baseball owners have been hoping for since he burst on the scene in 2007. His 5×5 line of .303/101/23/87/17, along with his .376 OBP, .502 SLG and OPS+ of 140 have fantasy owners drafting him with an ADP of 62.37. Check out his rankings: ESPN #50; Yahoo! #40; CBS #87.

DH Billy Butler is starting to show fantasy owners what to expect from him each season rather than drafting him based on potential or perceived expectations. He’s probably only DH-eligible in your league now (lucky you if he still has 1B eligibility), so there’s that drawback but you can bank on a 5×5 line around .300/75/20/90/1. Rankings: ESPN #98; Yahoo! #127; CBS #111.

 Best of the rest but not a keeper

3B Mike Moustakas has 20-home run potential but only hit five in 365 plate appearances in his rookie season. He plays a premium fantasy baseball position and could easily become a keeper with a much-improved sophomore season.

OF Lorenzo Cain will be given every chance to show what he’s got this season and what he’s got is a .300 average and 30 stolen base potential. He will be fun to own but not yet a keeper.

C Salvador Perez had many fantasy owners targeting him as a sleeper for 2012 after a .331/20/3/21/0 in just 39 games in 2011. Unfortunately a Spring Training knee injury has virtually wiped out his entire season.

The Kansas City Royals farm system is currently ranked 5th overall by Baseball Prospectus and should continue to produce and promote quality players. Now if only they could have success growing some major league-ready pitchers. PS, Danny Duffy…not a keeper…yet.

So there you have it. How did you feel about the Royals’ roster heading into your fantasy baseball drafts and now into the 2012 season? Please use the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @DJAubain to continue the discussion.


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Fantasy’s Biggest Winners And Losers Of The Offseason

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Fantasy’s Biggest Winners And Losers Of The Offseason

Posted on 07 February 2012 by Mark Sherrard

The Hot Stove is cooling down and fantasy baseball season is right around the corner.  With many fantasy owners starting to prepare for their drafts, here is a look at some of the biggest winners and losers of this offseason.


Yonder Alonso – Stuck behind Joey Votto in Cincinnati and incapable of playing left field, Alonso escaped his own personal purgatory when the Reds traded him to San Diego for Mat Latos.  After hitting .293/.370/.466 in 4 minor league seasons and .299/.354/.479 in 117 at bats in the majors, Alonso will finally get a chance to show what he can do.

Edinson Volquez – Another player whom the Reds sent over to the Padres as part of the Mat Latos trade, Volquez’ value immediately gets a boost as a result of pitching in Petco Park.  Volquez gave up 19 homeruns in just 108.2 innings pitched last year.  If Petco can help cut that total in half and he cuts down on his walks, he has a good chance to push his ERA under 4.00 for the first time since 2008.

Jarrod Parker/Brad Peacock/Tom Milone – Acquired by the A’s as part of the trades of Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, at least two of these 3 pitchers should step into the A’s rotation immediately.  With Dallas Braden and Matt Anderson injured, its possible all 3 will start the year in the rotation.  Parker and Peacock have the most upside of the 3 and all of them got a cup of coffee in the bigs last year.  Expect all of them to see significant time in the majors in 2012.

New Closers – Due to trades and free agency, Matt Thornton, Rafael Betancourt and one of Grant Balfour/Fautino De Los Santos/Joey Devine will be stepping into the closer role in 2012.

Thornton saved 3 games for the White Sox in 2011 and takes over for Sergio Santos, who was traded to the Blue Jays.

Betancourt filled in as closer for an injured Houston Street in 2011, saving 8 games.  With Street traded to San Diego, the closer job is Betancourt’s to lose.

Finally, with the trade of Andrew Bailey to Boston, either Balfour, De Los Santos or Devine will assume the role in 2012.


Ryan Braun – Although nothing has been decided yet, Braun’s value could take a serious hit if his 50 game suspension for the use of performance enhancing drugs is upheld.  Braun has appealed and maintains his innocence, but to date no player has ever won an appeal.

Carlos Quentin – Acquired by the Pares from the White Sox, Quentin moves from one of the better hitters’ parks to one of the worst.  After hitting .288 in 2008 with 36 homeruns for the White Sox, Quentin has hit only .245 with an average of about 24 homeruns the last 3 years.  Both numbers could drop even lower in 2012.

Aging Veterans – It appears that teams are starting to realize that they can get the same productivity out of some young rookies that they would get from an over 35 veteran.  As a result, players like Johnny Damon, Vlad Guerrero, Raul Ibanez and Hideki Matsui are still looking for work, while others, like J.D. Drew, Milton Bradley and David Eckstein are considering retirement.

Former Closers – Since there are winners in the closing shuffle, there has to be losers as well.  This year’s losers are Mark Melancon, Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez), Francisco Cordero and Francisco Rodriguez.

After saving 20 games for the Astros in 2011, Melancon was traded to the Red Sox and was considered a replacement for the departed Jonathan Papelbon up until the Red Sox acquired AnDrew Bailey.

Caught for identify fraud, Oviedo’s status for the beginning of 2012 is still up in the air.  However, one thing is for certain, with the Marlins signing Heath Bell this offseason, Oviedo is no longer the closer.

Cordero saved 37 games for the Reds last season, but struggled to find a job this winter.  He finally signed a 1-year deal with Toronto, where he will set up Sergio Santos.

After being traded to the Brewers mid-season, Rodriguez surprised them by accepting arbitration this winter.  Unlikely to receive more on the open market, Rodriguez accepted a setup role with the Brewers.  The Brewers avoided arbitration with Rodriguez by signing him to a 1-year, $8 million contract and could still try to trade him.

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