Tag Archive | "Keeper Leagues"

Jay Bruce

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Top Home Run Hitters In The Past 28 Days

Posted on 09 September 2012 by John Unity

With both real and fantasy teams making a push for the playoffs, the long ball can easily make the difference in crucial games.  Below are your hottest home run hitters over the last 28 days.

9 Home Runs: Edwin Encarnacion, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, and Chase Headley

Edwin Encarnacion continues to amaze.  Prior to this season, the most home runs he had hit in a season was the 26 he posted in 2008.  He currently has 38 home runs and is having a career year to say the least.  Over the past 28 days, Edwin is batting 0.270 with a 0.9904 OPS. Fantasy wise, it’s too bad that he will lose his 3B eligibility next season, having only played third base once this season.  Those of you in keeper leagues need to take note of this.  His average is probably a little high, based on his hitting style, but the 38+ home runs is hard to argue with.

Hanley Ramirez is enjoying the West coast.  In the past 28 days, Hanley is hitting 0.269 with a 0.9051 OPS.  Since joining the Dodgers, he is hitting 0.272 with 10 home runs in just 162 at-bats.  He had 14 home runs in 353 at-bats, with Miami, while batting just 0.246.  He’s still not the player he was prior to the 2011 season, but at least we are seeing improvement.  Maybe the change in team is just what he needed.  For you fantasy buffs, Hanley will still have shortstop eligibility (in most leagues) next season, which amplifies his fantasy value.

Ryan Braun has done everything in his power to prove that he deserved last season’s MVP title, and that PEDs had nothing to do with his performance.  In the last 28 days, Braun is batting 0.333 with a beautiful 1.0676 OPS.  Braun has blasted 38 home runs so far this season, with 91 runs, 100 RBI, and 23 stolen bases.  The 38 home runs is a career high and he’s still going strong.  Braun has put together another MVP caliber season, although I would be shocked to see the MLB give him the award after what happen this past offseason.  Braun will be a Top 5 pick in next season’s fantasy baseball drafts.  He should be the first outfielder taken off the board, but Trout could challenge that.

I’m almost as impressed in Chase Headley as I am in Edwin Encarnacion.   Like Edwin, Headley is having a breakout season, mainly in the power department.  Prior to this season, Headley’s top home run season was in 2009, where he hit 12 home runs.  He has currently hit 26 this season.  In the past 28 days, Headley is also batting 0.320 with a 0.9721 OPS.  Unfortunately, it seems that PetCo Park is slowing him down a bit.  He has hit only 9 of his 26 home runs at home.  It would amazing to see what he would be able to do if he didn’t play at that field.  Either way, in fantasy drafts, Headley could find himself taken as a Top 5 third basemen next season.

 

10 Home Runs: Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton is having a great 3rd season of his career.  Even though he missed close to 5 weeks of the season due to injury, he is still on pace to put up his greatest home run total of his career.  In the past 28 days, Giancarlo is batting 0.282 with a 0.9905 OPS.  This season he’s batting 0.285, a nice jump from the 0.262 average from last season.  He will be turning just 23 this offseason; it is scary to think how good this guy could get over the next few years.  There’s no reason not to believe that he will break 40 homeruns in 2013.

 

11 Home Runs: Adrian Beltre, Mark Reynolds, and Jay Bruce

Adrian Beltre has continued to be a beast for the Rangers.  He’s on pace to have his best home run total since the 2004 season where he hit 48 homeruns for the Dodgers.  He’s on pace to hit 34 home runs this season, but at the rate he has been hitting over the last month, he could easily break that.  Over the last 28 days, Beltre is hitting 0.387 with a ridiculous 1.2272 OPS.  Fantasy wise, Beltre will be the 2nd third basemen taken off the board, in next season’s draft.

Mark Reynolds is trying to salvage a terrible season.  He’s on pace to have his lowest home run total since his rookie season.  However, in the last 28 days, he has managed to blast 11 home runs while batting 0.317 with an incredible 1.1911 OPS.  In fact, he has more home runs in the past month than he had in the 4.5 months of the season.  In his past 8 games, Reynolds has hit at least 1 home run in 5 of the games, and has hit 2 home runs in 3 of those 5 games.  In fantasy baseball, Reynolds is a great pickup to grab while he has a hot bat.  However, Reynolds is very streaky and this hot streak can end as fast as it got started.

Jay Bruce was one of my favorite sleeper picks in the postseason.  Bruce struggled with his batting average through most of the season, and I had said that a low BABIP was to blame.  Bruce is making up for the low BABIP now, and what a perfect time to step up for fantasy owners.  Over the last 28 days, Bruce is batting 0.358 with a monstrous 1.247 OPS.  In the offseason, I predicted that he will have 90 runs, 105 RBI, 36 HRs, and bat 0.271 – he is currently on pace for 92 runs, 108 RBI, 36 HRs, and a 0.264 average.  At only 25 years old, I believe he could be even better next season.  Don’t be surprised when he breaks the 40 home run total in 2013.

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

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Tim Lincecum

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch – Come on down, Timmy!

Posted on 27 August 2012 by Patrick Hayes

It’s that time again. We are racing towards the end of August (HOLY CRAP) and some fantasy leagues have already started their playoffs. This edition will be the last one with a focus on the current year. Next week (depending on if I push one out for Labor day) I plan on writing with an eye on next year, with an emphasis for keeper leagues. I will also end the year with a recap of how my buy, sell and holds have played out. So that will be neat, eh?

Tim Lincecum – SP, San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum

#152 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

I write this knowing that Lincecum is throwing live on ESPN right now, but I’m not watching (still no cable) so the results shouldn’t be factored into what I’m about to write. Any-who, Timmy has had quite the wild ride of a year. After seeing the wheels completely fall off the train in the first two months with an ERA well north of 5.00, he has regained some of his magic of late. Post All-Star break he has an ERA of 3.10.

So what has changed? Actually, a lot, and not for the better. He is walking more batters (3.5+ BB/9) and is striking out batters less (15.3% from his avg of 22-24%). However, he isn’t giving up the long ball as he was in the first half of the year (HR/FB of 6.3% in August, 17% in July). After seeing these numbers, and knowing that he is allowing a lot of base hits still (30 hits in last 29  2/3 IP), I am still holding him. Going in I was solid in buying, but I’ve just changed my mind. He isn’t a keeper for your team next year but he still can provide a boost for your championship run.

My verdict: Hold,  just like that pile of clothes you keep meaning to give to Goodwill.

Gio Gonzalez – SP, Washington Nationals

Gio Gonzalez

#13 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

Gio Gonzalez started the 2012 year lights out for his new team in the National League. He is a great example of a steal in the draft for where you picked him up at (134 ADP). The first two months saw him have an ERA near 2.00 and fanning batters at a rate in 10+/9. The case could be made that these numbers, along with a BABIP of near .230, that the NL opponents simply haven’t had a chance to adjust to seeing Gio for their first time.

That isn’t the case anymore, hitters are becoming very comfortable with Gio now. His ERA during the early summer months ballooned to above 4.00, but have now regressed to near 3.oo-ish. It seems that the hitters got to Gio the 2nd time through and he as made adjustments to end up somewhere in the middle of the two extremes so far. The downside is that his K/9 rate has fallen to under 8.0 the past two months and his BABIP has rebounded to near the league average. He still is a solid play in all formats and should be inserted into your lineup with confidence, just know that the beginning of the year is a distant past and to have reasonable expectations.

Side note, Gio might have the most hilarious face when he releases the ball out of any pitcher I’ve seen.

My verdict: Selling! His value has maxed out and now is the best time to try and capitalize on it.

Brandon Morrow – SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Brandon Morrow

#51 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

After a bit of time on the DL, @2morrow23 has only made one appearance, and it was a short one (struck out 7 in 4 2/3 IP). Sure he plays on a team that has been playing with half of its firepower, not to mention completely cemented in the basement of the AL East. That won’t stop me from pursuing him on my team though. When he is on, his K/9 is on the front page of the leaderboard of all MLB. His 2012 year has been a little step back as far as K’s go, but his ERA is sitting nicely at 3.06. He has simply stopped walking as many batters as he used to (2.73/9 down from 3.46/9 in 2011).

If he can remain healthy for the rest of the year he could be a real nice piece to have for your fantasy baseball stretch run. Although I don’t have him right now, I’m mentally placing him on  my targeted list of starting pitchers I like for next year. As far as acquiring him this year, work the health angle with the current owner. His upcoming slate of starts is somewhat favorable too – vs TB, @ BAL and vs SEA. Go and get him!

My verdict: Buy and stash under your bed just like that guitar you purchased but never play.

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

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chris_carter_oak

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Better Late Than Never: Chris Carter, Oakland Athletics

Posted on 14 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

In Better Late Than Never, I will be profiling 25 year old Oakland A’s post-hype prospect Chris Carter. In this profile I will give you some background on his career in the minors, his past struggles in the majors and his surprising emergence this year at the major league level as well as my recommendation, fantasy-wise, for the rest of the season in yearly and dynasty/keeper leagues. Unlike another famous Cris Carter, where all he did was catch touchdowns, all this Chris Carter does  is hit home runs.

Chris Carter is a 25 year old first basemen for the Oakland Athletics.  He was drafted in the 15th round of the 2005 MLB draft by the Chicago White Sox. During the 2007 offseason Carter was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Carlos Quentin.  Two weeks after he was traded to Arizona, Carter was traded to the Oakland Athletics as part of the package to bring Dan Haren to Arizona.

In four previous stints with the A’s prior to this season, Carter was a major disappointment. Once considered the club’s top prospect, he struggled mightily. In 2010, he hit .186 with 3 Hrs and had 21 strikeouts in 24 major league games.  Then, in  2011, his performance was even worse, hitting just .136 with 0 Hrs and 20 strikeouts in 15 major league games.

However, the tools and talent have always been there. In 2009, he seemed destined to become an impact power hitter. He produced 28 hrs and 115 rbis in 544 at-bats in season, splitting time at both the double-A and triple-A levels and also appeared in the Future Game. In 2010, he produced  31 Hrs and a .258 avg with 94 RBIs in AAA.

While prior to this season, he had never been able put it all together at the major league level, the talent was evident at the minor league level. In his last four minor league seasons, he was good for 122 home runs and 399 RBI.  While putting up good numbers in the minors, he had fallen off most “top prospect lists” and many insiders were beginning to label him a Quad-A player (a Quad-A player is a player is one who has enough talent to dominate in Triple A but continually fails in the Majors). Was this who  Carter was destined to become?

Enter 2012. It now seems he has arrived. The now post-hype prospect has hit . 272 with 10 HRs, 22 RBIs and only 33KS in 103 ABs this season.  While he could still work on lowering his strikeout numbers some, it’s a major improvement from his high K-rate in much less ABs in his short stints in the majors in ’10 and ’11.  Plus, the power is definitely there. His 10 Hrs in only 103 ABS in a pitcher-friendly park is nothing to scoff at. Finally receiving consistent playing time, it looks like the late-blooming  25 year old Chris Carter may have finally arrived.

Now for his fantasy value. Chris Carter is only owned in 5% of Yahoo!, 7% of ESPN and 33% of CBS leagues. While I know his past struggles had him off most fantasy owners radar early in the season, why the reluctance to roster him now, gamers? He has hit 10 HRs in 103 ABs. That’s virtually one home run for every 10 ABs. And with just 28 total hits, 35.7% of them have been home runs.

In comparison, a very disappointing Eric Hosmer has 10 HRs in 408 ABs and is 68% owned in Yahoo leagues. That’s a 63% ownership difference between Hosmer and Carter. I know a lot of ownership levels are based on name alone but if we could all get past what we thought Carter was and see what he is doing and becoming,  he’d be a very valuable pick up and commodity for anyone needing power in general, specifically at the first base position. I understand your trepidation, gamers. I really do. I was leery of picking him up myself but needless to say I finally did and have been reaping the benefits ever since. Now is the time to pick him up. Under 10% owned in Yahoo and ESPN is criminally low.

It has come to the point where he’s in my lineup over guys like Brandon Belt and Yonder Alonso, both with a slightly higher ownership percentages. The one and only thing going forward to keep a close eye on is playing time.  He has played on a regular basis during the month of August and it looks as if the A’s management now realizes they have finally found their first baseman of the future.

I recommend a Chris Carter pick up in all leagues right now and even recommend him as a borderline keeper. If he is fully endorsed as the A’s starting first baseman heading into next spring (which I do expect to happen), I’d then give my full endorsement on keeping him. Keep a very close eye on this situation next spring.

In summary, it looks like Carter is reaching his full potential this year and, with his low ownership numbers, is out there for the taking in all leagues. While it may have taken him longer than most highly-rated prospects to finally become a fantasy factor, like they say, “It’s better late than never”.

Will you be picking up Chris Carter or have you already? Do you feel he is finally for real and here to stay or are you still not buying into him? Let me know in the comments and as always follow me on Twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs.

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DOs and DONTs: Washington Nationals

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DOs and DONTs: Washington Nationals

Posted on 05 March 2012 by Aaron Somers

Washington finished the 2011 season just a game below .500 for the first time since the Nationals came into existence just before the 2005 season. While it was a big step in the right direction for the organization as a whole, outside of Michael Morse (31 HR, 95 RBI) and Danny Espinosa (21 HR, 66 RBI) there remained few legitimate fantasy options worth pursuing on the active roster.

The team underwent some major changes over the winter months, particularly in the starting rotation. With a promising young outfielder you may have heard of – Bryce Harper – slated to join the team in Washington sometime this season, the Nationals’ fantasy landscape may be vastly different from just one year ago.

  • DO consider strongly when to draft Harper, particularly in keeper leagues. It seems evident that the hyped prospect and “once in a generation” talent will be joining the Nationals in Washington at some point early on this season. Most expectations are that he’ll remain in the minor leagues at least for the season’s first month (to prevent free agency by a year) but there are no guarantees when he’ll make his MLB Debut. He’s going to have to hit while in the minors and continue the new-found maturity he’s exhibited thus far during Spring Training in order to force the organization to get him in the lineup. You don’t want to draft him too early but you don’t want to wait too long either.
  • If your league counts holds in addition to saves, DON’T forget to keep Tyler Clippard in mind. His 38 led the National League in 2011 and he’s in position to put up similar numbers in 2012. Plus, don’t forget he was good for 11 bullpen wins in 2010.
  • DO take a flyer on second baseman Danny Espinosa. Considering the lack of quality second baseman across the Major Leagues, Espinosa has the potential to jump into that next tier of quality options at the position. He showed glimpses of a strong power potential (21, 66 – as mentioned above) but otherwise struggled at the plate with a poor batting average (.236) and on base percentage (.323). He could be poised to breakout this season as he continues to improve with more experience.
  • Meanwhile, Espinosa’s double play partner Ian Desmond is someone you DON’T want to rely upon as your starting shortstop option. Beyond an ability to swipe 25-30 bases he doesn’t provide much offensive value, at least not consistently.
  • Veteran Mark DeRosa is a potential bench option that I think you DO keep an eye on. After missing most of the past two seasons he finally appears to be healthy and has been swinging the bat well so far this Spring. He seems likely to get a high number of at bats between first base and right field. The added positional versatility could also be a plus.
  • DON’T count on much from Chien-Ming Wang and Adam LaRoche until they can prove their health first. Wang has missed far too much time to expect big things from him out of the gate, but he still holds too much potential to simply ignore. Keep him in mind on a late April waiver claim if your roster isn’t deep enough to stash him on the bench somewhere.
  • Both Jordan Zimmermann and Edwin Jackson are pitchers primed for big seasons, so DO consider them when drafting your pitching staff. Zimmermann is another year removed from Tommy John surgery and seems to be on the verge of a major breakout season which could place him among the NL’s best. Meanwhile, with Jackson joining his 9th organization in his 10th MLB season he’s likely to be extra motivated to prove to teams that he’s worth offering a multi-year contract to next winter.
  • If you’re hoping for strikeouts from your bullpen options, DON’T count on much from Brad Lidge. Sure, he holds a strong K/9 rate but his inability to pitch significant innings negates that value. He’ll likely find himself in middle relief situations with Washington, serving mainly as a veteran mentor in the bullpen rather than one of the team’s main options.
  • DO consider Jayson Werth as one of your outfielders. He can’t possibly hit any worse that he did last year, right?
  • DON’T forget that once he pitches 160-170 innings, Stephen Strasburg is going to be shut down for the season – regardless of where the Nationals are in the standings. The team is focused on Strasburg’s ability to help them win games long term and they aren’t going to risk anything by having him throw too much this season. Likely sometime in early to mid August Strasburg’s season will likely be done.

It’s certainly going to be an interesting season to watch in Washington as this team could surprise a lot of people after the strong offseason they just had. Which of these players will you be targeting in your upcoming fantasy baseball draft?

Be sure to check out the remainder of our series on DOs and DON’Ts to see how our staff evaluated your favorite team. Let us know whether you agree or disagree.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@BlogFTBleachers) for more of my thoughts on baseball. You can also follow my coverage of the Nationals at District on Deck.

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Strategies For The Late Rounds Of Your Draft

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Strategies For The Late Rounds Of Your Draft

Posted on 13 February 2012 by Ryan Van Bibber

Last time I shared some thoughts on how not to screw up the first overall pick in your fantasy draft. This time, we turn our attention to the other end of the snake, the late rounds of the draft and figuring out just what to do with those future drops.

Attention spans start to wane by the time round 15 starts. I love to play the waiver wire. In fact, I usually check the waiver wire before bothering to look at my own lineup. Now I play in a league that charges $2 per transaction. That changed my perspective on the waiver wire a little bit. To prevent dumping oodles of cash into a one-week replacement I now focus more intently on those late round picks I used to think of mostly as just a grab bag.

There is a strategy, several strategies, for making your last ten picks or so. It depends largely on the kind of league you play in and what kind of rules govern it.  The reality is that you want to mix these different takes in with your final picks, likely depending on which players are available.

Future Stars
For the most devoted of baseball fans, the kind of people who have prospect lists committed to memory, the later part of the draft is time to shine … and annoy friends with obscure baseball knowledge. If you play in a keeper league, this will be your most important track for late picks. The biggest names in prospects, last season’s call-ups ready for prominence, will probably be off the board by round 15.

Go deeper into those top prospect lists. Identify players in opening day lineups likely to be on shaky ground by the first of May and whether or not teams have youngsters wainting in the wings for their shot. This is not just a ploy for keeper leagues. Grabbing a top prospect with a good chance to crack the starting lineup by Memorial Day is an easy to way to reinforce weak spots on your own roster.

Pitching, Pitching and More Pitching
I play in a head-to-head league these days, where starting pitching, even of the most mediocre variety, can still produce points. Loading up on two-start pitchers every Monday morning is also cost prohibitive at $2 per transaction.

Rounds 15-20 in standard leagues with 25 roster spots are meant for adding third and fourth starters. Here you can even chase wins, giving back-of-the-rotation guys on contenders a flyer for your roster. Of course, there are more than wins to be had from this group of pitchers. Look for potential breakout players, guys who had a strong September or someone whose peripheral statistics indicate better things in 2012.

Replacement closers are another option, eighth inning guys ready to step in for a shaky or oft-injured ninth inning guy. I tend to lean on the wire for in-season closer replacements since those decisions tend to be less predictable and less productive than starting pitching. However, if you miss out on closers earlier in the draft, this might be the place to grab some potential saves.

Aging Names
This is a Billy Beane favorite. Remember when the Athletics signed an unwanted Frank Thomas in 2006 and got 39 home runs and a .926 OPS out of him? They might do it again with Manny Ramirez this season, once he gets past that 50-game suspension. Aging greats can surprise everyone with bouts of productivity, and you will more than likely find a few in the late rounds of the draft.

Every year one or more of your starters, your top picks in the draft, will struggle at some point in the season. Colorado’s Todd Helton was probably an afterthought in most league’s last year, assigned to more teams via the robot draft than a purposeful addition. However, he had a pretty solid start to the season. Helton had 17 extra base hits in the first two months of the season to go with 21 runs scored, 22 RBI and an .870 OPS. It was hardly the line you want out of a starting first baseman, but it was good enough to be a fill-in for stragglers drafted in the early rounds.

Position Scarcity
Third base is notoriously thin again this season. There are never enough shortstops and second basemen to go around in a 12-team league. Adding a few backups at those positions, even if you do somehow manage to get a top tier player for all three, is a smart idea for a couple reasons.

Try to find a young player poised for a breakout or even a rebound candidate sitting in the right circumstances at one or more of these positions. They can serve as a fill-in if your starters are injured or in a slump. If they really get going, they could also give you some bargaining power as other owners deal with slumps and injuries.

A productive draft will use all of these strategies to get through the later rounds. It just might be the difference between fantasy gold and another wasted summer on the internet.

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