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Field of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

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Field of Streams: Fantasy Baseball Pitching Options

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Will Emerson

Welcome, welcome! Time for another edition of Field of Streams, a weekly look at some viable and some not so viable fantasy baseball streaming options for the upcoming week. Is Wood good? Is there a Grimm pitching option this week? Is Francisco Liriano back? Francisco? That’s fun to say! Anyways, away we go. Please remember all stats are going into Saturday, May 11th’s action. Enjoy!

Francisco Liriano

Travis Wood, CHC- In the words of Cosmo Kramer, “It’s the Wood that makes it good. Not only has every one of Travis Wood’s starts this season been of the quality variety, but he has allowed two or fewer earned runs in all but one start. Wood is readily available in most formats, so clearly most people are overlooking his numbers. Well, maybe they just aren’t buying in just yet. Although Wood is sporting a 2.33 ERA, both his xFIP and SIERA are over four and he is only inducing ground balls at a 40% rate. That ground ball rate, a K/9 which, at best, should hover around seven on a good day and a BABIP of under .200, points to Wood receiving a great deal of good luck. Wood has two starts this week, at home versus the Rockies and the Mets. The Rockies have the second highest slugging percentage in the league and the Mets are well, middle of the pack offensively. I would avoid the Rockies start and I am about 50-50 on the Mets start.

Justin Grimm, TEX- Despite a clunker against the Brew Crew in his last outing, Grimm is still very much in the streaming discussion. Grimm’s overall numbers are still very good, with a K/9 over nine and a SIERA of 3.62 points to him being a very serviceable fantasy pitching option. The pundits still feel like the ERA will be closer to the five range and the K-rate will decline, but for now “Reaper” is still looking good. Although it is a two start week for Grimm, this week, I am not full on board with streaming him as he faces two lineups who have been very good offensively, the Athletics and the Tigers. I would actually take Grimm at Oakland but use him at your own risk against the Tigers.

Roberto Hernandez, TB- On the surface, Roberto’s numbers are nothing spectacular. Hernandez is 1-4, with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP, but his SIERA is 3.25 and his K/9 is over nine. There is nothing pointing to this being the norm for Hernandez, but if he keeps pitching the way he is, he should continue to be a good spot start option. Hernandez throws against the Os at Camden Yards this upcoming week. The Orioles have scored the third most runs in the majors this season and actually do not strike out a ton. I like Hernandez for occasional starts, but would steer clear this week.

Francisco Liriano, PIT- Welcome back Francisco Liriano! Fresh of the DL, Liriano was a bit of alright against the Mets. Liriano pitched 5.1 innings, allowing one earned run on six hits, striking out nine and walking just two. Liriano will lock horns with the Brewers this week, a team that is fifth in the majors in OPS, so I wouldn’t be 100% about this start, but I feel confident in saying Liriano is about a 75-80% shot at a quality start here.

Dan Straily, OAK- Okay, okay, so Straily’s lat outing was, well, awful, sure. Here’s the thing though, ol’ Danny boy is still sporting a SIERA under 3.50 and a K/9 over ten, making him a favorite of mine. While I do like Straily, I would steer clear of this week’s outing against the Rangers and wait for a more favorable outing to spot start him.

John Lackey, BOS- Judging by the ownership percentage in ESPN and Yahoo!, many people are not buying into Slackey’s resurgence. Well, seems like almost every Boston starter is throwing well to start the season and while I do not expect them to keep up this pace, I do think they will continue to provide some quality pitching. Lackey has two starts this week, against the rays and Twinkies and I expect two good starts right there with chance for some “Ws”.

Ubaldo Jimenez, CLE- Yes it is true, Ubaldo’s overall numbers still look bad, but what you may not have noticed is, Ubaldo has actually put together a couple of nice consecutive starts. Now, as I write this Jimenez is pitching against Detroit and that could get messy, sure, but he has a start this upcoming week against the Mariners, which is a favorable start for most SPs. Although I am not completely convinced of Ubaldo’s turnaround just yet, it is the Mariners and I think he can pull off a quality start there.

Hector Santiago, CWS- K/9. enough said. No? Yeah, you’re right. How about a K/9 of 8.44, a sub-two ERA and a 3.24 SIERA? Now, Santiago may not be mainstay in the rotation, but after pretty much dominating the Mets in his last start, it may be worth considering in the future. At the very least, Santiago is slated to start Monday against the Twinkies so I have no problem saying, “stream away!”

Chris Tillman, BAL- Tillman does not have “ace” numbers, but he has put together four straight quality starts. Now, although in those starts the peripherals were not great and show that Tillman may be getting a bit lucky, he does draw the Padres this week and they are not exactly world beaters at the plate, so go ahead and get a start outta Tillman this week.

 

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Line of the Day: Chad Billingsley

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Line of the Day: Chad Billingsley

Posted on 07 April 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the San Diego Padres for 8-plus innings allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out 11 batters in leading his team to a 6-0 victory to earn Full Spectrum Baseball’s “Line of the Day” award.

Line: 8.1 IP | 3 H | 0 ER | 1 BB | 11 K; W (1-0) | QS

My fantasy perspective: Billingsley struggled this Spring (5.91 ERA) but came out of the gates firing on all cylinders with 11 strikeouts and just one walk. He has a nice career 8.0 K/9 ratio but a horrific 3.9 BB/9 ratio, too. Fantasy owners should be dancing in the streets over this performance, especially those who got a #2 starter with an ESPN ADP of 227.8. At the time of this posting, he was owned in 81.4% of all ESPN leagues (and rising). Check your league’s waivers, especially in smaller leagues, to see if he’s somehow available. He may be worth a pickup if you have a vacancy due to injury or less faith in one of your other back-end starters. Good luck.

Agree? Disagree? Check out ESPN’s formula for determining the best daily performances and nominate your own Line of the Day player using the comments section below and/or hitting me up on Twitter @DJAubain.

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Drafting for Need

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Drafting for Need

Posted on 26 March 2012 by Dennis Lawson

 

So close, but so far away...

Congratulations!  You have reached that point in your draft where you have a full set of position players, several starting pitchers, and a couple of relievers.  That is great for you.  However, as the picture above suggests, you have not yet finished what you started.  You need to create some depth on your team.  So does pretty much everybody else in your league, though.  The last 6 or 7 rounds of a draft may consist of 10 different people each grabbing the guy ranked the highest by the experts at Full Spectrum Baseball (that is a shameless self-promotion right there, yep).  Of course, it is quite possible that more than a few of those team owners are simply ready to get out of the basement and outside into the sunlight thing that so many people are raving about these days.

Do not be that owner.  Stop for a moment and think.  Are you drafting the best player available just because he may or may not be the best player available?  More importantly, should you be drafting to fill needs in your team?  Maybe the needs are not immediately apparent, but it is your job to anticipate some of those needs anyway.  Good luck.

If you play in a league that allows you to keep bench players, then you pretty much ALWAYS need a second catcher.  If you pay close attention to when your primary catcher will be sitting out, then you can hopefully substitute that backup catcher for a game or two.  It would be an absolute shame to reach the end of the season with only 120 games played by your catcher.  Give serious thought to who you want backing up the top guy.

  • Jonathan Lucroy, John Buck, and Geovany Soto should all make the short list of 2nd catchers available in a 10 team draft.  All 3 topped the 50 rbi mark and have the potential to hit 15 hr or more a season.

What about anticipating need at first base?  Sure, a lot of those guys are like Prince Fielder and rarely take a day off.  That does not mean you should ignore first base as a position of need.  Personally, I usually opt to stack my “utility” positions with at least 1 guy who qualifies at first base.  Even the 2nd and 3rd tier at 1B can provide you with .775+ OPS and some run production.

  • Do not sleep on guys like Carlos Lee, Nick Swisher, and Howie Kendrick.  After Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto, and Prince Fielder, there is still a substantial list of hot names to select from, and they will go fast.  Freddie Freeman, Eric Hosmer, Gaby Sanchez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Mark Teixeira will go quickly as well.  All is not necessarily lost, though.  Lee, Swisher, and Kendrick won’t necessarily last forever, but they aren’t the first names that come to mind, either.
  • If you have a really early pick in your draft, the “Miggy Switch Strategy” might be worth considering.  To employ the strategy, you draft Miguel Cabrera as a first basemen, knowing all along that he will be eligible at 3rd base very early on.  You then use a subsequent draft pick on a full time guy at first base.  Cabrera can cover when your guy at first is injured, or you may build some depth at the corner infield spots that allows you the luxury of making a big trade at some point during the season.

If your league makes use of a middle infield (MI) position, then there your draft could force you to look for guys outside the top 15 at both the SS and 2B positions.

A quick glance at the players available at third base should tell you that there is some reasonably good depth at the position.  Even so, team owners should keep in mind the reasons why so many players are ranked close together at the position.

  • Danny Valencia provides a bit of power, but he does so without providing much in the way of steals or OPS.
  • Chipper Jones was a top 15 guy at 3B last season, but his most recent injury puts him in the “do not draft this guy”  bucket.
  • Remember Chase Headley, because his numbers were a little low last year due to the fact he only played 113 games.  He still managed a respectable number of runs scored, rbi, steals, and OPS.  Headley can definitely fill the stat sheet, and he can play multiple positions.  If he qualifies at positions other than third base, then that is a potential bonus factor.

In need of a real bargain or steal for your 4th outfielder or “UTIL” position?  Cameron Maybin stole 40 bases last year.  Nick Markakis had a bit of an off year in which his production was well below his career average.  He managed only 73 rbi, but he has topped that mark 3 times in 5 years leading up to 2011.  Austin Jackson crossed the plate 90 times last season, even though he only hit .249 with a .317 OBP.  Both numbers are well below what he posted in his rookie season (2010), so he could also be a nice addition as a 4th outfielder.

While I will not argue the merits of having top tier players in as many positions as possible, I will also go on record stating that the extra production from unexpected sources is what makes fantasy baseball really interesting.  You do not earn credibility for drafting the obvious perennial Silver Slugger winner the same way you do by getting an extra 20 hr from a utility guy or 80 rbi from your backup middle infielder.

 

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