Tag Archive | "Fluke"

Edison Volquez: Stream Dream?

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Edison Volquez: Stream Dream?

Posted on 22 March 2013 by Will Emerson

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

EdisonVolquez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jair Jurrjens And The 2013 Orioles

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Jair Jurrjens And The 2013 Orioles

Posted on 20 February 2013 by Will Emerson

Against all, or at least most,odds the Baltimore Orioles flew on into the playoffs  in 2012. It defied logic really. I mean on paper they had no business being there. They were not picked by, I would go ahead and say anyone, to even finish higher than fifth in the A.L. East, let alone make the playoffs. They even managed to take the New York Yankees to five games in the League Division Series before their season ended.  It was unexplainable to say the least, but it has to now have hopes a bit higher in Baltimore for 2013. Or does it? If anything the 2012 Orioles showed the world , or at the least the part of it that pays attention to baseball, that in baseball just about anything can happen over a 162 game season. As much I may still wonder how exactly the Orioles really got it done in 2012, I am scratching my head at how they are going to get it done in 2013.

JairJurgens

The Orioles have had a very subdued offseason which, to me at least, says that the front office does not see the 2012 season as a fluke. Be that as it may, it can’t hurt to try and improve, especially whilst playing in arguably the toughest overall division in baseball. The other surprise American League playoff team from 2012, the Oakland Athletics, has not made too many eye-popping moves, but they have filled some major holes and look to build on last season. Let’s face it if you were compare the Oriole and Athletic organizations I think you would say Oakland was already in better shape. Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with not making a big splash in the offseason. It seems, like I said, that the Os front office is thinking they have the pieces pretty much in place to make another playoff run. While it is good to show confidence in your team and all, being realistic can be useful as well. The possible addition of Jair Jurrjens in your rotation is hardly causing league opponents to shake in their cleats

Jurrjens could, if he stays healthy be the newest piece in the Orioles rotation. Wow. Is that supposed to excite Orioles fans? Are they already printing Jurrjens tees, jersey and other knickknacks and tchotchkes? Is a Jurrjens bobblehead already in the works? Okay, okay, I know, I know, there’s no reason to bad mouth Jurrjens. In fact, I do like Jair, but in the same inexplicable way I like Chris Volstad. I don’t necessarily think he is underrated or necessarily good, I just like him. Unfortunately my like does not a good pitcher make. It could be considered low risk high reward, or could it? In the last two seasons he had a K/9 below six and his career high in the majors is 6.65. While his career ERA is a respectable 3.62, his FIP is 3.99 and his xFIP is 4.31. His best xFIP season, which is what I am guessing the Os are hoping for, came in 2008 when he posted a 3.92. Oh, that is also the only season in which he posted a sub four xFIP. Now of course all xFIP does is give us an idea of around where a picther’s true ERA should be not where it will be, so really Baltimore is looking for that incredibly lucky 2.96 ERA Jair posted in 2011. Jurrjens posted that ERA with a 3.99 FIP, but was helped by a .269 BABIP and an 81% LOB, by far his career high. Hey, if he is able to reproduce that kind of luck he will be a great deal. But I am guessing in the A.L. East he will be like me in high school and rarely, if ever, be getting lucky. We may be getting off track a bit here, I mean Jair just needs to be mediocre to be a worthwhile pickup for Baltimore. Jurrjens does not need to be an ace of the staff that’s why they have ummm, uhhh, errr…well, I have no dang idea? Who will anchor the 2013 Orioles rotation, exactly, Wei-Yin Chen?

While he is no Bruce Chen, Wei-Yin did prove serviceable in 2012, but what we can expect from Chen and the rest of the Baltimore rotation in 2013? First off they have eight pitchers, aside from Jurrjens who could start in ’13. Let us take a quick look at those potential SPs and some 2012 numbers.

Brian Matusz – 6-10, 4.87 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 4.38 SIERA, 4.95 xFIP, 7.44 K/9
Tommy Hunter- 7-8, 5.45 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 4.34 SIERA, 4.37 xFIP, 5.18 K/9
Jason Hammel- 8-6, 3.43 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 3.53 SIERA, 3.46 FIP, 8.62 K/9
Wei-Yin Chen- 12-11, 4.02 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 4.14 SIERA, 4.34 xFIP, 7.19 K/9
Zach Britton- 5-3, 5.07 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 4.11 SIERA, 4.05 xFIP, 7.91 K/9
Jake Arrieta- 3-9, 6.20 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 3.59 SIERA, 3.65 xFIP, 8.56 K/9
Chris Tillman- 9-3, 2.93 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 4.17 SIERA, 4.34 xFIP, 6.91 K/9
Miguel Gonzalez- 9-4, 3.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 4.40 SIERA, 4.63 xFIP, 6.58 K/9

Wow, take your pick, anyone of them could be your ace, right? Sheesh, only two starters with sub-four xFIPs? On the bright side, other than Tillman and Hammel, everyone else should have better numbers in the future. I mean not much better, but better. Now, you could argue that there was no pitcher really out there that they could go after, although Kyle Lohse is still hanging around. I think Lohse is overrated and not worth whatever he is asking, but he could easily step in and be the ace of this staff. Heck, Ryan Dempster could be the ace of this staff!  Well, clearly it was not really the starting pitchers that got the Orioles to the playoffs in 2012 and why should it be what gets them there in 2013? Their bullpen was what worked for them, right?

Their pen was anchored by Jim Johnson who is a bit overrated because of the 50 plus saves, but rather than get into that now, you can read this. The Os basically used four other relievers in front of JJ and used them a lot! Five relievers threw over 55 innings and four of them threw over 66 innings. Not one of those pitchers had an xFIP under 3.38 and only one of them had a K/9 over eight. Which is fine for starters, but as a high to highish leverage reliever, you should be striking guys out. Wait a minute! Time out! Why am I even harping on their pitching? This a slugging team that will outscore other teams, so the pitching does not have to do much to keep them in games.

The Orioles were sixth in the American League in runs scored in 2012, so they had no trouble getting people across the plate. This was in large part due to the long ball, as they were number two in the league in that category. But is this run scoring sustainable? They do have some promise in their lineup, but can you expect them to duplicate 2012? Take Chris Davis for example. Davis crushed the ball in 2012, socking 33 home runs. This was a career high sure, but totally unforeseen? Well, not entirely, since many people have been waiting awhile for this Chris Davis to make an appearance.  So maybe Davis can do this again. I mean he is only there to slug after all. The amazing thing is Davis did not drive in 100 runs. Not one Oriole did in 2012. It was a balanced attack. Plus they will hopefully get a full season of Manny Machado who is still developing, so they appear to be in good shape with the bats. Their offense should be as good, if not very close to as good as it was in 2012, but is it enough to get back to the playoffs? I would lean towards no. No, it is not enough.

At the very least the Orioles will have to beat out two teams in their own division to dip their toes in the 2013 playoff waters and that in itself is a tall order. Looking at the A.L. East going into 2013, every team in the division should be able to put up runs. Well maybe not the Rays, but they pretty much have the best pitching in the division, maybe the American League, and that will compensate plenty. The Blue Jays, Red Sox, and even the “in-danger” aging Yankees should be able to hit with the Orioles and I would argue that they all have better pitching than Baltimore. At least two teams in the A.L. East are not making the playoffs and I have a feeling the Orioles will be one of those teams. Sorry Baltimore fans, but enjoy Jair Jurrjens bobblehead day!

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Mike Fiers

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Top 10 ERAs Over The Last 28 Days – Starting Pitchers

Posted on 12 August 2012 by John Unity

With approximately only 50 games left in the season, teams are starting to feel the heat and are making the push to win their divisions.  I am going to take a look at and discuss what starting pitchers have helped their teams out the most over the last 28 days.  My only requirement to make this list is that the pitcher had to start a minimum of 5 games over that period (7/14 – 8/10).

#10 – 1.862 ERA – Jordan Zimmermann – WASH

 

Jordan has started 5 games over the last 28 days, going 3-0 with 30 strikeouts in 29 innings.  Even more impressive, he has posted the 3rd lowest WHIP on this list at 0.86.  Over that period, the Nationals have had a record of 20-9 (with 2 double headers).  Everyone always knew that Jordan had a ton of potential, and he is determined to prove that last year was no fluke.  Combined with Strasburg, G. Gonzalez, E. Jackson, and Detwiler (who would have been #12 on this list), the Nationals have quietly put together one of the game’s best rotations.  There are reasons why they own the best record in baseball, and Zimmermann is one of them.

#9 – 1.817 ERA – Hiroki Kuroda – NYY

Kuroda has been very impressive over his last 5 starts, but has been a victim of poor run support.  He has gone 2-1 over that period.  The one loss was to Seattle, where he gave up only 1 run over 6.1 innings.  In the mean time, Kuroda has lowered his ERA to 3.24.  He has been a nice addition this season and should continue to help produce wins and a decent ERA for the first place Yankees.

#8 – 1.787 ERA – Clay Buchholz – BOS


Clay’s season ERA is the worst since his rookie season.  He currently sits at an ERA of 4.24.  What you can’t see by looking at this number is that has been amazing over the last 2.5 months. Since June 1st, Clay has posted a 2.031 ERA in 75+ innings.  He has also posted a 10-3 record on the season.  Over the last 28 days, he has gone 2-1 with a 0.77 WHIP in 6 games.  He too has been a victim of poor run support, having no decisions in 3 of those games.  In those 3 games, he has pitched 22 innings and has only given up 2 earned runs.  He has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last 2.5 months, and could have been in CY Young talks if it wasn’t for a disastrous April and May.

#7 – 1.734 ERA – Adam Wainwright – STL


In Adam’s last 5 games, he has gone 3-1, with 35 strikeouts in 36.3 innings.  In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Adam has shown flashes of his old self.  He has had a couple rough months this season, but the past month and a half has helped lower his ERA to 3.90 on the season.  The Cardinals need him now more than ever as they find themselves 6 games out of 1st and 2.5 games out of the wildcard race. If Wainwright is back, this could be the extra boost the Cardinals need to get to the postseason.

#6 – 1.711 ERA – Felix Hernandez – SEA

The King continues to show why he is always the hottest name that floats around during the trade deadline.  Felix is having another Cy Young worthy season, accounting for 20% of Seattle’s wins and only 8% of their losses.  He has a season ERA of 2.74 with a 1.10 WHIP.  Over the last 28 days he has a 4-0 record with 2 complete games.  He also owns the lowest WHIP on this list, with an incredibly low 0.772 WHIP over his last 6 games.  It seems to be a bit of a waste for the Mariner’s to hold on to him, but he loves Seattle, and they love him.  Imagine what this guy could do on a team with run support.

#5 – 1.486 ERA – David Price – TB

Price has been lights out almost this whole season, and the last 28 days have been no exception.  In his last 5 starts, he has gone 3-0 with a 0.908 WHIP. He has also struck out 41 batters in 36.3 innings.  Price continues to help the Rays make a push for the postseason, who now find themselves only 0.5 games back from the wildcard.  Price is possibly having his best season of his career, and barring injury, look for that to continue as they take over the Orioles in the AL East.

#4 – 1.467 ERA – Matt Moore – TB

Here’s another guy who had a disastrous start to the season and has made the necessary changes to become an elite pitcher over the last 2.5 months.  Moore came into this season as a sleeper and has shown why over the last 28 days, as he has gone 4-1 with a 1.04 WHIP.  He and Price have been the main reasons for the Rays recent success. In the past month, the Rays have a record of 15-10; Moore and Price have combined for a 7-1 record.  Moore is a future ace and he’s proving it now.

#3 – 1.406 ERA – Ben Sheets – ATL

Sheets’ last full season was in 2008, where he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA. The 34-year old has just joined the Braves this past month and has only started 5 games this season.  In these 5 games, Sheets is proving that he is back.  He has gone 4-1 and has struck out 23 batters in 32 innings.  As of right now, Atlanta finds themselves sitting in a wildcard spot.  They will need to have Sheets and the next guy on this list to continue producing in order to make it to the postseason.  Sheets will most likely have his ERA rise a bit before the end of the season, but there’s no reason to expect him to have a complete meltdown at this point.

#2 – 1.397 ERA – Paul Maholm – ATL

Maholm’s last 5 games have helped lower his ERA down to 3.50 on the season.  In that period, he has a 3-1 record and a 0.776 WHIP (second lowest WHIP on this list).  He has only started two games for the Braves, since being traded, going 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA.  The Braves need as much help as possible and Maholm could end up being just what they needed.  He won’t keep up this pace, but a 3.50 ERA for the rest of the season isn’t out of the question.

#1 – 1.080 ERA – Mike Fiers – MIL

In the past 28 days, Fiers has a 3-1 record in 5 games, 30 strikeouts in 33.3 innings, 1.080 ERA, and a 0.930 WHIP.  Mike Fiers is something special.  This season he has started 12 games and has had 10 quality starts.  He has a 6-4 record and has also posted a 1.80 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, with 80 strikeouts in 80 innings.  The Brewers have said that they will keep a close eye on his innings and may cut him off at some point. He has never logged more than 94 innings in his baseball career.  The Brewers find themselves 11.5 games out of wildcard, so it only makes sense to cut him off.  For you fantasy baseball buffs, this is a kid to keep a close eye on.  For you in keeper leagues, he may be someone you should consider holding on to.

Check out my other writing at JoeBlowBaseball.com, too.

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Handicapping The NL West

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Handicapping The NL West

Posted on 03 May 2012 by Dennis Lawson

 

Dodgers

Consider for a moment that the Dodgers are sitting pretty at 17-7 with a 4 game lead in the National League West division.  That represents quite an improvement over what was barely a .500 team a year ago.  Is the fast start a fluke, a result of favorable scheduling match-ups, or is it sustainable?  Is it some combination of those 3?

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers – 17-7
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks – 13-11  (4.0 back)
  3. San Francisco Giants – 12-11  (4.5 back)
  4. Colorado Rockies – 11-12  (5.5 back)
  5. San Diego Padres – 8-17  (9.5 back)

The Dodgers currently have approximately a 63% chance of making the playoffs right now which means close to nothing.  After all the Padres have about a 6% chance of making the playoffs, and that is about 6% too high.  There are different ways of assessing “strength of schedule”, but I have a practical assessment that relies on a few criteria:

  • How many times a team has played the Astros
  • How many times a team has played the Padres
  • How many times a team has played division rivals expected to contend
  • How many series a team has played against opponents that made the playoffs the previous year

Of the 24 games played by the Dodgers, 7 have been against the Padres, and the Dodgers are 6-1 in those games.  The Dodgers also has taken 2 out of 3 from the Astros and swept the Pirates in a 3 game set.  While they have fared just fine against some quality opponents like Milwaukee, Atlanta, and the Nationals, it just seems like the Dodgers have built a lead on a house of cards that cannot stand for long.  Eventually they have to prove that they can beat Arizona and San Francisco.  If they can even play those 2 teams to a standstill, I’ll consider reserving a spot on the Dodgers bandwagon.  Until then, I am still not convinced that they are the class of the West.

At this stage, I am inclined to give the Diamondbacks the nod.  Why?  Well, the D-backs are 2 games above .500, and they have already played the Braves, Marlins, Phillies, and the Rockies.  Schedule similarities/differences alone are not enough to differentiate them from their rivals, but a 3-0 sweep of the Giants is.

Still, all 3 potential frontrunners have positive run differential numbers right now, and that means the NL West is the only division other than the AL East to have more than 2 teams with positive run differentials.  While statistical outliers can skew the data and limit the usefulness of run differential, it is worth recalling that only the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers finished 2011 with positive differentials.  The implication?  The Giants quietly floated around above .500 with a +6 differential and trail the Dodgers by only 7 runs scored with 1 fewer game played.

That bit of good news for the Giants may be a bit of bad news for the Dodgers.  Matt Kemp is currently in the top 2 in just about every statistical category except for wins, saves, and holds, and the Dodgers still do not have the look of world beaters.  Maybe Ethier can continue his torrid RBI pace, but that leaves them needing big years from A.J. Ellis and Mark Ellis in order to stay on top of the standings.

Maybe the Dodgers can do it, but I would put my money on the Diamondbacks and Giants to make a lot more noise as the season gets older.  The predicted NL West finish still stands as follows:

  1. Diamondbacks
  2. Giants
  3. Dodgers
  4. Rockies
  5. Padres

 

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Finding Keepers:Toronto Blue Jays

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Finding Keepers:Toronto Blue Jays

Posted on 21 March 2012 by Gary Marchese

The Toronto Blue Jays are probably a better team then they seem.  They happen to play in the toughest division in baseball the American League East.  The Blue Jays have been winning 80-85 games which is very good considering they have to take on the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays 19 times a year each.  Here is a look at some guys on their roster who are potential keepers for your fantasy baseball team.

RF Jose Bautista, He is now one of the premier power hitters in the game if not the premier one.  He is a high on base guy also because teams walk him so much.  He wasn’t a fluke two years ago because he followed it up last year.  In the last two years he has hit 97 homeruns.  His best year before the last couple of years was 16 homeruns in one season.  He has also driven in 227 runs and walked 232 times.  Bautista has finally found a home in Toronto and is playing regularly now.

SP Ricky Romero, He is a good young lefty pitcher.  In the last three years he has won 13, 14 and 15 games in that order and lowered his ERA each year.  He had his best year last year when he was 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA.  He is also doing this in the AL East which is impressive.  Romero is a pitcher you would want on your team, any team especially a keeper league.

SS Yunel Escobar has always had a lot of talent.  He started in Atlanta and then was traded to Toronto.  He seems to have settled in as the leadoff hitter there now.  He had a year last year of 290, 11 and 48.  He wont hit many homeruns but has some pop and wont drive in too many runs but he isn’t supposed too.  He will hit for a good average though and has the potential to steal some bases.  I wouldn’t mind building a team around this player.

3B Brett Lawrie is an exciting young player.  We don’t know what he will be yet or his full potential.  He seems to be well on his way though and I wouldn’t want to part with him if he was on my fantasy team.  He made the majors last year and hit 293 with nine homeruns and 25 RBI in 43 games.  He also had a 373 on base percentage.  He looks like a very impressive young man.  I wouldn’t want to part with this guy at all.

Closer Francisco Cordero is a pretty good closer and has been for a while.  He isn’t great but I think you know what your getting with him.  The closer position is important and you want a reliable guy in that position.  If you can’t have Mariano Rivera or Jonathan Papelbon why not a guy like Cordero.  In the last three years he has had 37, 40 and 39 saves.  You can count on getting 35+ saves from him.  His ERA could be in the high twos or low threes but that won’t kill your overall team ERA.

C J.P. Arencibia is a catcher with power.  He hit 23 homeruns last year with 78 RBI.  In the minor leagues in 2010 he hit 32 homeruns.  If your looking for power from the catching position then I would keep him around on my team.  If your looking for average your not going to get it as he only hit 219 last year.

If there is anyone on this list that you feel I have missed please let me know.  You can comment on the article and if you have twitter you can reach me @gmarchesej.  Thanks for reading as always and I hope you continue to enjoy my colleagues and I finding keepers articles.

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