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The Wood That Makes It Good

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The Wood That Makes It Good

Posted on 30 May 2013 by Will Emerson

If you have Travis Wood on your fantasy team, you are a lucky duck.  For real! Travis Wood has been the bargain of bargains at the fantasy starting pitcher slot this season. Even I, a man with a certain fondness for Wood and fantasy crush on the entire Cubs rotation, could not, would not, have predicted the start that Travis Wood is having. The thing now, from the fantasy baseball view, is can we hope to get out of Wood for the remainder of the season? A valid question that will be asked of any player who puts up good numbers, virtually out of nowhere. If you are currently a proud Travis Wood owner you are probably, even as you read this, wondering what the future holds for the Cubs’ wily southpaw. If you’re not, you probably should be. Okay, now that all Travis Wood owners have this thought rattlin’ around their noggins, time to drop some knowledge on them.

TravisWood

Personally, I have liked Travis Wood for a couple of seasons now. “Why,” you may ask. Well, I don’t really know. Travis Wood is just one of those pitchers I like, but cannot quite pinpoint the reason for this “liking”. Other members of this club include such big names as Chris Volstad and Brett Cecil. I guess Cecil sort of has K potential, but really none of them offer anything in the way of star, or even above-average, potential in real or fantasy baseball. They are not guys I peg as sleepers at the beginning of a season, but rather, guys who I might spot start here and there, at best. I am a K/9 guy, so liking Wood is very strange for me. Wood’s career K/9 is 6.78, so he should not even be on mike likability radar. But he is. Now, K-rate aside, there are pitchers who can make do whilst allowing more contact. We call those guys crafty. Picture a Mark Buehrle type. A solid innings eater, who won’t be especially flashy, but will get the job done for your team, more often than not. The key for those types of pitchers is to keep the ball on the ground and not give up hard hit balls.  So, does Wood fall into this Buehlre-esque (not to be confused with burlesque) mold? Maybe?

Here are Wood’s career numbers- 21-25, 3.94 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 6.78 K/9, 2.94 BB/9, 33.5 GB% and a 71.9 LOB%. Seems sort of like a Buehrle like guy, right? I mean, personally I might be a bit concerned about the ground ball rate, but Wood seems to be working with it, for the most part. Wood’s career line drive rate is right around 20%, which seems about average. Now let’s look at Wood’s 2013 numbers at this point in the season.

In 2013, Wood is 4-2, with a 2.24 ERA, .93 WHIP, 5.82 K/9 and a 2.83 BB/9. So compared to his career and, pretty much projected, numbers the K-rate, just like the ERA and WHIP, are down significantly. So what’s changed? Well, his ground ball rate, while still lower than I’d like, is actually up over five percent from 2012. More ground balls, in theory, will generally help a pitcher’s cause, that is for darned sure! Wood is also walking slightly fewer hitters, down a little (about .11 per nine innings) from his career number. So those numbers will help a bit, but the biggest improvement right now for ol’ Travis is his pitching with men on base.

To this point in 2013, Wood has a LOB% of 82. Eighty-frickin’-two, folks! For those that may not know, that is quite a good strand rate. Not only as that more than 10% higher than Wood’s normal numbers, but it is almost 10 higher than the league average! Now, it does not take a rocket surgeon to realize that preventing baserunners from scoring is a good idea, but the question is, can Wood sustain this rate? It’s really hard to say yes to that question. I don’t think there are many, if any, people who believe in that rate continuing. Obviously, if you start letting more baserunners score, your ERA will rise. The thing is, even if the strand rate goes down to the league average or in that vicinity, remember Wood has not been allowing a ton of runners to reach base.  So even if Wood’s strand rate was right around league average his ERA would still be right around three. Now before you get all crazy and start telling people I said his ERA would be around three the rest of the way, just wait a tick.

I am not saying Wood will still be tossing up these ace like numbers. throughout the rest of this season. Wood’s ERA should finish in the mid threes though, which is a bit of alright! Wood’s been throwing a cutter more frequently, and with more consistency, which has definitely contributed to his success thus far. So while he will not keep up his current pace, I feel like he will definitely pitch better than some of the current projections that have his ERA the season being up over four. I need a few more strikeouts for my liking, but he definitely has some fantasy upside the rest of the way.

If you have Travis Wood on your roster, his price may not get much higher than it is now and it would definitely behoove you to test trade market waters. That being said, it is still tough to say who believes in Wood enough to give you a premium return in a deal. Wood has been pitching very well dating back to the end of last season, but there is just no track record or even any sort of expectations that have popped up, pointing to this sort of performance. It is definitely worth testing the waters. Wood should be good (I’m a poet and I don’t even know it!) going forward, just not quite this good. Hey, put it out there and see what happens, I mean there’s always one in every league, right? Let’s just hope you are not that one. I mean in the words of Mike McDermott, “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Triple Play: Matt Moore, Carlos Gonzalez, Adam Wainwright

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Triple Play: Matt Moore, Carlos Gonzalez, Adam Wainwright

Posted on 29 April 2013 by Chris Caylor

MattMoore2

Who’s Hot?

Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays’ 23-year-old lefty is off to a sensational start in 2013, going 5-0 with a 1.12 ERA and a WHIP of 0.87. If you’re lucky enough to have him on your fantasy team, chances are it is off to a good start as well. He does need to limit his walks (4.2 per 9 inn.), but he is permitting a league-best 3.7 hits per 9 innings. Expecting Moore to sustain that (and his ERA and WHIP by extension) would be foolish; however, there is reason for hope that he will be able to keep them in the 3.30/1.20 range: his swinging strike rate is BELOW the league average. Moore was fifth in the AL with 175 strikeouts in 177 innings pitched in 2012, so he has the ability to whiff hitters. If his swinging strike rate goes up, then he could be even more dominating than he’s been. That should be a scary thought for major-league hitters (and a dream for fantasy owners).

Who’s Not?

Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies

CarGo is the poster child for the Rockies’ slump. Although Gonzalez has 4 HR, 12 RBI and 4 SB in the season’s first four weeks, Gonzalez is hitting a paltry .111 with three singles in his past six games. He has not hit a home run in his past 10 games. The slump is severe enough that Rockies manager Walt Weiss gave Gonzalez the day off Sunday. While it’s obviously too early to get too concerned about the kind of season CarGo will have, it may not be too early to wonder if the Rockies’ hold on first place in the NL West is already slippling away. With Gonzalez slumping, the timing of Troy Tulowitzki’s shoulder injury might be enough to push the Rockies out of first place in the division. And once they’re out of first, the chances of them getting back there aren’t good. If you own Gonzalez, you really have no choice other than to ride out this slump.

Playing the Name Game

Player A: .271/.326/.365, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 11 runs, 4 SB
Player B: .286/.307/.514, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 10 runs, 0 SB

Both of the players listed here batted cleanup for their teams on Saturday night. Player A is the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp. Player B is Yuniesky Betancourt. Yes, you read that correctly. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke actually did this. I know Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez are both on the disabled list. I know Rickie Weeks is slumping horribly. But, still, really? A guy with a career OPS+ of 83 hitting cleanup? Naturally, of course, Betancourt would go 2-for-5 with an RBI. This means it will likely happen again (although it didn’t repeat itself on Sunday). I can’t actually bring myself to suggest that a fantasy owner pick up Yuni, so I’ll just say this instead: all fantasy stats count, regardless of who accumulates them. He would be an easy drop once the inevitable regression back to his usual terrible self happens.

Player A: 0-0, 1.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 4 saves
Player B: 2-0, 0.81 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 6 saves

Player A is Edward Mujica, the Cardinals’ current closer. Player B is Jim Henderson, the closer for the Brewers after John Axford’s implosion. Mujica replaced Mitchell Boggs, who had replaced Jason Motte. A fellow owner in my NL-only league mentioned Mujica as soon as Motte’s elbow injury became public knowledge. He had the foresight to pick up him. I, on the other hand, figured that young flamethrower Trevor Rosenthal would become the closer. While that may still happen, Mujica has done an excellent job closing games. Henderson, meanwhile, may not give the job back at all. He is 6-for-6 in save chances and I would not put much stock in manager Ron Roenicke’s concern about Henderson throwing too many pitches as the closer. Axford may have had a few scoreless innings of late, but he has proven repeatedly that he cannot handle the ninth-inning pressure on a regular basis. Yanking Henderson from the job would be a terrible decision. Then again, Roenicke has shown a flair for terrible choices before (see Yuniesky Betancourt above).

Random Thoughts

  • Any questions about whether Adam Wainwright is “all the way back” from Tommy John surgery? Through five starts, the man they call “Waino” is averaging more than 7 innings per start, with a 37/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. One walk in five starts. Lots of pitchers can’t get through five innings without issuing a free pass.
  • Conversely, the Cardinals’ bullpen is a hot mess right now. While it’s so frustrating to watch the bullpen ruin two decent starts over the weekend from Jake Westbrook and Shelby Miller, it is still April. Here’s hoping that general manager John Mozeliak stays true to his history and does not make a knee-jerk trade in response. It would be easy to deal a useful player like Matt Carpenter for a fungible setup man or middle reliever.
  • Doug Fister has hit eight batters already in 2013. Good thing he didn’t plunk Carlos Quentin that night or it might be him on the DL.
  • Shin-Soo Choo has already been hit by pitches 10 times this season.
  • Nelson Cruz is on another one of his carry-the-team-on-his-back hot streaks: 3 HR, 13 RBI, 6 runs scored, along with a hitting line of .440/.533/.840 over the past week.
  • Hilarious on-pace stat of the year so far: Mike Napoli is on pace to drive in 190 runs for the Red Sox.
  • Seriously, though, I don’t think Boston misses Adrian Gonzalez so far this year.
  • In the same at-bat versus Albert Pujols last week, Yu Darvish threw a 97 mph heater and a 64 mph curveball. Proving that he is human, Pujols struck out.
  • Going into Sunday’s games, Justin Upton and Allen Craig had each driven in 18 runs for their teams. The difference? Upton has 12 home runs and Craig has none.
  • Most of the hype among the game’s youngest players goes to Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, but don’t overlook 20-year-old Manny Machado in Baltimore. Machado is on a seven-game hitting streak, during which time he has compiled a .433 average, 5 RBI, 5 runs scored and two steals.
  •  Which one of these statements is true? Edinson Volquez pitched seven consecutive innings without walking a batter last week. Petco Park was sold out.
  • Believe it or not, it’s Volquez. Someone call Ripley.

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10

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Joshin’ Around

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Joshin’ Around

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Will Emerson

Pitchers and catchers have reported which means it is time to delve into all, yes all,  sorts of fantasy baseball argle bargle! So what is the argle bargle du jour? Well, that would be the outfield position.

JoshWillingham

Otherwise known as, arguably the deepest position in fantasy baseball, not just because of the mere talent level of outfielders but also because, in the offensive category there are just plain more of them. It would be hard to argue that the easiest place to find some hidden offensive gem is in the outfield. Wouldn’t it? Plus many of the early round talents are outfielders. I mean the list of fantasy studs in the outfield is pretty darned good. Mike Trout, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, Matt Kemp, Josh Hamilton, Josh Willingham…..wha, wha, wha, what?! Josh Willingham?  Yes, do not adjust your screens, I said Josh Willingham. Josh is a fantasy diamond in the rough!

Okay, maybe J-Dubs is not your traditional fantasy stud, per se, but he is definitely a guy many of your opponents may overlook. In several places I have seen his current average draft position in the high 80s, mostly drafted behind about 20-25 some odd other outfielders, which could end up being a big steal for you come draft day. Willingham quietly put up a very solid 2012 with the Twinkies, probably because, well, not many people were paying much attention to the Twinkies as a whole. Mmmm, Twinkies…. Umm, well, in case you missed hit, here is what Willingham did last season:

35 HRs (4th among OFs)
110 RBIs (3rd among OFs)
.890 OPS (4th among OFs)
143 wRC+ (4th among OFs)
.366 OBP (12th among OFs)

Yes, I realize wRC+ is not used in fantasy baseball, but it is certainly not irrelevant stat for drafting a fantasy team. Take it for what you will, but here were the no name outfield leaders in wRC+ in 2012:

Mike Trout- 166
Ryan Braun- 162
Andrew McCutchen- 158
Josh Willingham- 143
Matt Holliday- 141
Josh Hamilton- 140
Allen Craig- 138
Ben Zobrist- 137
Yoenis Cespedes- 136
Austin Jackson- 135

Not bad company for Willingham, huh? Now, I know what you may be thinking, “but Will, that’s only one season, there’s no saying he can duplicate that in 2013!” Well, first off, I am not sure why you are yelling at me, but to your point  I would say, to be fair, that there is never a guarantee that a player can duplicate any season. Regardless of whether or not a player has a decent track record, anything can and will happen from one season to the next, but was this just one season for Willingham?  Let’s go and see, shall we? That’s rhetorical, folks, see, we shall, and see right now, we will! Wow, sorry for Yoda taking over this post for a hot second. Where were we? Oh yeah, Josh Willingham.

If Willingham gets over 400 ABs he will get you 20+ dingers. In 2011, he socked 29 dingers, so the 35 is not completely out of left field, where, as it happens, Willingham plays most of the time, so I guess they were out of left field in a way.  The 29 long balls in 2011 were only good for 11th amongst all outfielders, but that is still pretty good. Remember he is looking to be around the 25th (or so) outfielder coming off the ol’ board in 2013 fantasy baseball drafts. There is more to life and, to a lesser degree, fantasy baseball, than home runs. Okay, well, Willingham also drove in 98 runs in 2011, good for sixth amongst all outfielders. So you can at the very least get some cheap pop out of the big lug. Obviously the lack of steals and batting average do hurt his case a bit, but his .260 average from 2012 is not too debilitating and minus his ’08 and ’11 seasons he has hit .260 or higher every season, which is not atrocious by any means. If you are not old-fashioned sitting in a 5 x 5 league with batting average as a stat then sure his stock will drop some. If you are in a league that at  least has OPS and or OBP, then Willingham is absolutely, undoubtedly, positively the sleeper outfielder for you!

Although his career batting average is .261, he has been able to get on base at a .362 clip, proving he has a bit of patience at the plate. Plus he has not had an OPS under .810 in the majors since he became an everyday player in 2006. On that front only twice in those seasons did he post an OPS under .834. Okay, not a much bigger number, but nevertheless, a good one. Statistically there are no signs that 2012 was a giant fluke for Willingham, although the home runs may drop off a bit into the mid-to late twenties (I’m calling 27 right now!), the rest of the numbers are pretty legit, even the runs! Willingham scored 85 runs. On the Twins. The 22nd in the majors in runs, Minnesota Twins, for crying out loud! Okay, okay, maybe I am getting a tad bit carried away here. Alright, alright, so the 85 runs may dip a bit as well. In fact, well, the RBIs may fall off a smidge too. So, 2012 may not quite be duplicated by Josh, but I think he is an outfield sleeper come draft day, regardless, mark my words!

Look, I am not saying that Josh Willingham is a top ten fantasy player. Heck, I am not even saying he is a top ten fantasy outfielder. Although that could depend in large part to what stats you use in your league. In any event people, what I am saying is that you could still be getting a steal (but not steals) in the middle rounds with Josh Willingham. Here is what I am projecting for J-Will in 2013:  .258/.363/.480, 27 HRs, 90 RBIs and 78 runs. Now, I am certainly not the greatest prognosticator in the world. Far from it, I would wager. Be that as it may, I like to think I am in the ballpark with Willingham’s numbers and if I am (and 63% of the time I am right every time) then those are darned decent numbers to grab in the early 8th round in a 12 team league.  So you are welcome for starting you on the path to a fantasy baseball championship!

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field Of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 19 August 2012 by Will Emerson

Welcome back to another edition of Field of Streams, your in depth look at some viable, and some not so viable, fantasy streaming options for the upcoming fantasy week.

Now before we dig on in this week, I just want to mention that, thanks to my stellar praise (shameless plug here,) you will no longer find the Shark Jeff Samardzija on this list as he is now owned by more than, albeit barely, 50% of ESPN and Yahoo! owners. Huzzah! He is still only owned by about 51% in both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues so you can still probably grab him, but the rise over 50% eliminates him from this list. So now on with the show, here comes your look at your fantasy streaming options, owned less than 50% in ESPN and Yahoo! leagues for the week of 8/20-8/26:

Mike Leake (CIN)- After a sluggish start, Leake turned it around with a solid June. In the month of June he posted a 2.55 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and a very solid 3.17 xFIP. Good numbers indeed! But then came July. In that month, he had a 5.46 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP, a pretty drastic turnaround, if you ask me, and while you didn’t ask me, I’m the one writing, so deal with it. The bright spot here is that his xFIP was still below four at 3.69, so maybe he was not quite as bad as he seemed. So far in his three August starts he has a 3.43 ERA, a .90 WHIP and a respectable 6.86 K/9 and his last start was plain brilliant. Against the Mets he pitched a complete game, allowing just one earned run on four hits, walking no one and striking out four. His xFIP and SIERA point to him sustaining an ERA around 3.70-4.00 and could provide a fantasy team with some quality starts down the stretch. He has two starts this week, but unfortunately he is locking horns with Roy Halladay at Citizen’s Bank Park in the first start and looks to be matched up with Adam Wainwright in Cincy in the other. Neither of these looks to be any sort of lock for a quality start or a “W”. So, I would keep an eye on Leake, but until he stays consistent, I would steer clear. (3.7% owned in ESPN and 10% in Yahoo!)

Miguel Gonzalez (BAL)- Some of you still may not have M-Gon, his unofficial terrible nickname, on your radar but the 28 year old has twirled a few good starts this year. Now the first red flag is this is the first many of us are hearing about Miggy and he is 28 years old. He was selected in the 2004 amateur draft and did not pitch in the minors at all in ’08 or ’09. At Triple-A Norfolk this year he had a 1.61 ERA with a .72 WHIP and a K/9 over 10, which as you know tends to grab my attention. Since being called up all he’s done is go 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and a 6.90 K/9. In his last outing he stymied the Red Sox over six innings and this week he has two starts, so he should be grabbed immediately, right? Well, maybe not. These starts come against the Rangers and Blue Jays, two heavy hitting teams and for a pitcher inducing ground balls only about a third of the time and an xFIP close to five I would think long and hard before streaming him. (7.9% owned in ESPN and 8% in Yahoo!)

Freddy Garcia (NYY)- Another two start pitcher for the upcoming week, Freddy could be a solid pickup for any fantasy squad. Don’t necessarily expect a ton of Ks, but if you need some quality starts Steady Freddy (new nickname pending) may just be your man. Only once in his last eight starts has he given up more than three earned runs and in that start he gave up four earned runs. As much as I am not a fan of the quality start stat, it is nice to know that five of those eight starts were quality starts. I like Steady Freddy a lot this week at the White Sox and at the Indians. This could very easily be a two win week for Garcia and he is a pitcher that is unlikely to hurt your stats this week unless you are, and really you should be, in a league with K/9. Although his season K/9 of 6.80, which is a bit lower than I’d necessarily care for, is certainly respectable enough.(1.3% owned in ESPN and 6% in Yahoo!)

Mark Rogers (MIL)- Obviously I absolutely love the K/9 of 9.13 Mr. Rogers is throwing out there, but that 4.94 ERA may steer some fantasy owners away. Well his xFIP is 3.14 thus far and the high ERA could have a lot to do with the last start in Colorado where he was roughed up a bit, but that can be expected a mile above sea level. Most prognosticators seem to feel his ERA will be somewhere in the fives, but the xFIP is promising, mostly because he is walking less than three batters per nine, which is much lower than his walk rates in the minors which tended to hover in the five or six range. His K/9 is also higher than his Triple-A numbers, which you don’t often see. Maybe he is gaining better control or maybe it is just major league hitters not having seen him and his stuff, previously. So while a regression could be coming, his starts this week are against the light hitting Cubs and the upstart Pirates. The Cubs and Pirates are currently 28th and 29th in the majors in walk rate, not exactly the most patient of hitters, so I say ride the trolley on in to Mr. Rogers neighborhood this week. (.2% owned in ESPN and 1% in Yahoo!)

Kevin Millwood (SEA)- Kevin Millwood is an innings eating dude and while that will not always translate into fantasy goodness, you have to like him in his first start this week. He is at home against the Tribe and Millwood has been cruising in his home starts of late. In his each of his last four home starts, against the Rays, Royals, Yankees and Rangers, he pitched into the 7th and allowed less than 3 earned runs. The peripherals have not been great, per se, but I really like his odds at home against the Tribe this week. His second start will be at the Cell against the White Sox and this is a bit more iffy. I say stream him against the Tribe and sit him against the ChiSox. (1.1% owned in ESPN and 4% in Yahoo!)

Marco Estrada (MIL)- I know I have made my fantasy crush on Marco “Ponch” Estrada readily known, but here he is still owned less than 10% in both ESPN and Yahoo! leagues! I mean, sure, who would want a pitcher with a 8.73 K/9, 1.91 BB/9, 1.21 WHIP and a 3.72 xFIP? Of course at home, his recent start against the Phillies not withstanding, he has been even more superb. At home his K/9 is 9.35, his BB/9 is 1.24, his WHIP is 1.06 and his xFIP is 3.46! But wait! That’s not all! Pick him up this week and we’ll throw in a start against the Cubs who have scored the fewest runs in the majors this season! So what are you waiting for?! Operators are standing by! (2.1% owned in ESPN and 6% Yahoo!)

Lucas Harrell (HOU)- Harrell has two starts this week and his recent numbers are highly decent, meaning a lot of fantasy owners are starting to take a notice and eyeing his progress. But these owners clearly did not read the inaugural Field of Streams, because his two starts this week are on the road, where Harrell has been less than good, to say the least. On the road young Lucas has an ERA over five a WHIP of 1.42, a sub six K/9 and an xFIP of 4.82. oh yeah, and his first start of the week is in St. Louis. The Cardinals are fourth in the majors in runs scored and have the 3rd best wOBA to boot. Avoid Harrell this week, but keep an eye on him for future starts. (5.3% owned in ESPN and 12% Yahoo!)

Dan Straily (OAK)- On the surface Straily’s looked pretty good since his call up with a 1-0 record, an ERA of 3.18 and a 1.18 WHIP. But below the surface he has not been so dazzling, as evidenced by his 4.56 SIERA, 4.82 xFIP and a .240 BABIP. He is also striking out less than 7 per nine innings which does not combine well with the fact he is only inducing ground balls 28.3% of the time. Now sure he could be solid in the future, but he will go through some growing pains very soon. Luckily a cavernous home park can somewhat compensate for the low ground ball numbers and normally I would still recommend giving him a whirl at home, but he has the Twins, who have been surprisingly decent offensively of late. So I’d avoid Straily for the near future, unless you are in a dynasty league preparing for the future. (8.7% owned in ESPN and 15% Yahoo!)

Zach McAllister (CLE)- Zach Attack has a 3.64 ERA and 1.24 WHIP to go along with a K/9 just over eight. Now his xFIP is close to four, but his SIERA is 3.73, so his ERA is about where it is expected to be. Ks may drop a bit, but Zach Attack seems like he could be a good pickup for the stretch run. But, if you’re not sold on him as a keeper through the end of the season, you should at least believe in him this week when he faces the lowly Mariners in Safeco. What do we say? Stream against the Ms when you can, especially at Safeco. (5.5% owned in ESPN and 10% Yahoo!)

Kris Medlen (ATL)- Medlen has been an asset pretty much wherever the Braves have needed him. The Ks have been a bit lower than expected at 6.53 per nine innings, but everything else has been the bee’s knees! A 2.03 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP are nothing to scoff at, so scoff elsewhere! His 3.30 SIERA and 3.43 xFIP mean that, yes, an ERA and WHIP regression are on the way, but personally, I can live with an an ERA in the 3.30-3.45 range. But all of these numbers are based on mostly bullpen numbers. In his four starts, including his last one which was a complete game shutout, he’s thrown 25.2 innings and allowed three, yes THREE, earned runs, 19 hits and four walks. That’s a 1.05 ERA and a WHIP of .89. He also had a K/9 of 7.71 in those starts. So, I’d recommend getting as many starts out of Medlen as possible while he is still in the rotation. Now he is actually owned by more than 50% in ESPN, but still more widely available in Yahoo!leagues, so he is on the list on a slight technicality. (57.9% owned in ESPN and 37% Yahoo!)

Patrick Corbin (ARI)- With a 3.41 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP, Patrick Corbin has worked out quite well for the Diamondbacks as a starter. His K/9 of 7.60, FIP of 3.34 and an xFIP of 3.74, seem to back up that his numbers thus far have been legit. This week he heads into Miami to face the Marlins and you have to like his chances in that park! If you have not already, it’s time to take a flyer on Corbin! (28.8% owned in ESPN and 17% Yahoo!)

So there you have it, another edition of Field Of Streams in the books! So what did we learn this week, children? 1) As always, stream against the Astros and the Mariners when possible, B) Ks/9 are your BFFs, 4) Hop on the Kris Medlen train while you can and F) Marco, is still the coolest Estrada since Erik! Good day and godspeed!

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Jeff Weaver Sabermetrics

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Sabermetric Spotlight: Jered Weaver

Posted on 17 August 2012 by Patrick Hayes

Sabermetric Spotlight: Jered Weaver, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

The Reason -

Being located in the Eastern Time Zone of the US, updates on pitchers not named Felix Hernandez are slow to arrive. Whispers of Jered Weaver’s stellar year have been beginning to creep into media and radio broadcasts of games I listen to, of course after the mention of the phenom, Mike Trout. If you happen to of forgotten, Weaver through a no-no against the Minnesota Twins on May 2nd (I know I did) and also has spent some time on the DL in early June. With all that said, having fallen in love with SoCal each time I visit, I thought it would be the perfect time to look into Jered’s year and see what all this fuss is about.

Jared Weaver Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Basic Numbers -

Since Jered finished 5th in the AL Cy Young in 2010 and 2nd in 2011, lets toss those numbers in with this year for comparison purposes.

Jared Weavers Basic Pitching Stats

Why hello continued progression. A steady ERA drop of almost .8 in two years is quite incredible, especially when starting at 3.01 and tossing in the American League. It’s fairly obvious that his DL stint will hurt the overall height of some of his numbers, but even so, this man has been consistent as can be the past 2+ years. Walks and strikeouts are both down, but I can deal with that when he rattles off 9 consecutive decisions that result in a win (yeah yeah, I hate W-L, I know). While on the subject, I’m curious of the run support he had in 2010, those are Felix Hernandez type numbers!

Sabermetrics -

Since it’s shark week, I wish there was a Saber Shark, so I googled it. Bad idea, someones OK Cupid account, ha. Charty:

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Besides HR/9, every single one of the stats in the upper portion of the graph have fallen from the past year. He has pin point control, that much is evident. While the K/9 of 6.91 isn’t what you were expecting this year on your fantasy team, the lower BAA (.196) and WHIP (.92) more than make up for it.

Staying in theme so far, Jered just keeps the ball down in the zone, plain and simple. GB% is up almost 5% to 37.3%, while FB% is down just under 7% to 41.5%. With the increase in ground-balls, its shocking to see that the batting average has gone down too, he has been a bit on the lucky side with a .225 BABIP, credit the above-par Angels defense for this (One can only imagine what Verlander’s numbers would be with a ranging defense behind him, anyway). Taking a look at his SIERRA numbers for the past few years, he has been out performing expectations of the statistical story, but this year takes it to new heights.

Pitch Types and Speed -

What has he done to reel in his control? Throwing his two-seamer (27.1% up 8% from 2011) almost as much as his four-seamer (28.5%) is one. To counter this, the slider (down to 12.5% from 18.2%) and change-up (13.1% from 15.9%) are each being thrown less. Velocities on all pitchers have remained just about the same, Jered’s arsenal is sick!

As you may have guessed, Weaver is throwing into contact more often. When a pitch is thrown for a strike, contact is made 88.6% of the time this year, up from 79.7% in 2010 and 84.8% in 2011. None of his other numbers really have changed dramatically, and quite honestly, I get a sense that he has been a boring pitcher to watch this year, which isn’t a bad thing. Pitches being swung and missed on have decreased, as well as his first pitch strikes, he is dictating what transpires in the game, bottom line.

Forward Looking -

His next three starts are against AL East teams in the Rays, at Fenway for those BoSox, then home vs Boston. A proverbial showdown for the Cy Young could go down on Sunday, September 9th when the Detroit Tigers are in town. Justin Verlander and Jered are both throwing tomorrow night, so lets hope that everything works out in our favor. Needless to say, the road isn’t an easy one, and if Jered wants that Cy Young, he will have to be clutch down the stretch.

Fantasy Analysis -

Jered is not the strikeout machine that he was in 2010, but he has been A++ in batting average against and WHIP. Oh and those wins don’t hurt either. He good, keep him.

Did You Know? -

Weaver is on the cover of MVP 07: NCAA Baseball, in his college uniform.

Jared Weaver No Hitter Face

Conclusion and Projection -

After having time to let the story waft its way to me, I’m not shocked that Jered’s year isn’t one of national relevance. He isn’t doing anything overwhelmingly sexy, he is just dominating with control and defense. Could a bit of a regression be coming? Perhaps, but not too likely, even with the difficult upcoming schedule IMO. The inquiry when I started revolved around the AL CY Young talk, and you can’t dismiss it. I do think the DL stint might play a minor, minor factor, but if he didn’t win it the past two years, I feel like that this year may finally be his time. Just not of the unanimous variety.

Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Find me on twitter: @pf_hayes

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