Tag Archive | "King Felix"

The Other Felix

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The Other Felix

Posted on 13 March 2013 by Will Emerson

Well you poor, poor souls are still several weeks away from the much-anticipated season premiere of Field of Streams. That does not mean, however, I cannot give you a quick look at some starting pitchers who are most likely not going to be drafted in many leagues, but could be viable streaming options for fantasy fanatics as the season progresses. These pitchers are not necessarily sleepers, per se. As I said, they probably won’t be drafted, but who knows? Anyways, over the next few weeks I will be throwing some future streaming options at ya, starting this week with the one, the only, Felix Doubront. Or as I like to call him, ”The Other Felix”, as in not ”King” Felix. I am also not comparing them in anything regards, other than by their names.

Felix Doubront

The Other Felix put up a decentish 2012 season with the BoSox, going 11-10 with a 4.86 ERA and a WHIP of 1.45. What? I said decent-ish, didn’t I? Doubront was by no means a world beater or even an unsung hero in Boston’s rotation, but I like how he gets things done. Felix’s xFIP was a shade under four at 3.81, which is certainly respectable, I would say, wouldn’t you? Well, of course if you know me at all, and you probably don’t, you should probably know the main reason I like Mr. Doubront. No? Ummm, Ks/9, folks! Doubront sported a more than  impressive 9.34 K/9 last season. 9.34, for crying out loud! Who knew? Just for a fun little comparison Jered Weaver had a K/9 of 6.77 and an xFIP of 4.18. Yeah, you read right, in those two categories, Doubront was better than Jered Weaver. Now, before you get all riled up, I am not saying that Duobront is a better pitcher than Jered Weaver or anything, especially in fantasy where that xFIP is not a factor during the season, but I just found that to be an interesting little tidbit of sports information I would share with you, my beloved reader(s). Anyways, combine that K rate with a decent ground ball rate around 43% for Doubront and it seems like he is headed in the right direction. Doubront certainly finished 2012 strong at least in the advanced stat categories.

Mr. Doubront posted his best xFIP of the season in the months of September and October, at 3.53. Of course his actual ERA during that stint was just over five, but still, there is big time potential there. Felix also induced more ground balls, getting batters to knock the ball into the ground at a rate of 47.1% during those months. Coupled with a K/9 of 11.07 and you are looking at what should have even looked like a strong finish, right? So what was with that high ERA? Was the Red Sox defense just plain bad? Some might think this, but much to my surprise, the BoSox had the third best UZR in the majors. See? Surprise! So if not the defense behind Felix, what then. Well, Felix did walk almost four batters per nine innings, which will never really help a pitcher’s overall numbers so much. On top of that Doubront’s BABIP was .312, which is not grossly unlucky, but was a fair 19 points higher than the league average. So, if he gets a bit more luck going his way and can cut down on the walks, The Other Felix could really turn some heads in 2013. Especially with a pitching minded manager at the helm, right? Well, there we hit a bit of a gray area.

John Farrell had very good success as the Red Sox pitching coach before becoming Toronto’s manager, but how does his pitching knowledge translate when he is the head honcho in the dugout? Well, in 2012, the Blue Jays were 27th in xFIP, 26th in K/9, 29th in K/BB, 26th in ERA and 25th in WHIP. Hmmm, not exactly anything to write home about. So maybe Farrell won’t help Doubront harness his control and potential, but wait, hope is not quite lost yet, folks! Former Red Sox ace and Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez is a special assistant with the Sox this season, and he should be able to really help the 25-year-old lefty hone his craft. At least I think so. Plus the new pitching coach, Juan Nieves has been under the tutelage of White Sox pitching coach over the last several seasons. Working with long-time pitching coach Don Cooper, Nieves helped guide a White Sox pitching staff that posted the 6th best ERA in the American League from 2008-12. The White Sox pitching staff set club records in Ks each of the past 3 years, including a franchise-best 1,246 K’s in 2012, so if Nieves brings a little of that magic mentoring with him to Boston, Doubront should be good to go!

While, I can see Felix having a breakout season in 2013, I am still not quite to the point where I can recommend drafting him as a sleeper, even in deep mixed or AL-only leagues. But I feel he will be a very viable stream option, if not a straight up waiver wire pickup in many, many, many leagues. The Red Sox offense should still put up a decent amount of runsin 2013, so, this should, should, translate into double-digit wins for The Other Felix. I would say you can get at least 10-12 wins out of Doubront this season and while the K rate may not be quite as high as it was in 2012, I would still expect it to at least be in the high to mid eights. For ERA, there is the potential to land in the vicinity of 3.50, but more realistically I would look for a 3.75- 3.85 range. The biggest detractor for Doubront could be his WHIP if the walks don’t fall in line, but I think you can get it in the 1.3s which may not hurt you too much. Currently Doubront’s average draft position is 260 in ESPN (owned in 1.6% of leagues drafted) and 239.5  in Yahoo! (owned in 6% of leagues drafted) so it is pretty clear he is headed for the waiver wire in a majority of leagues, making him an extremely viable streaming option in leagues with daily roster moves. So keep him on your post draft radar and look for him to appear in Field of Streams on a regular basis. Tune in next time, when I actually write about a player or team not in the American League East!

Well, maybe.

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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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AL Pitching Planner:  April 30 – May 6

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AL Pitching Planner: April 30 – May 6

Posted on 30 April 2012 by Mark Sherrard

This week’s AL pitching matchups are pretty weak.  We’ve got a few aces, a good grouping of middle-tier choices and a bunch of riksy picks.

King Felix Hernandez

As with the NL pitching planner, I am including the stats for each category for week 2, week 3 and YTD, so that everyone can follow my prognostication skills from week to week.

So, without further ado, here are the AL two-start pitchers and favorable matchups for week 5:

Two-Start Pitchers

No-Brainers

Felix Hernandez – 4/30 @ TB; 5/5 vs MIN – King Felix should always be in your starting lineup

C.J. Wilson – 4/30 vs MIN; 5/5 vs TOR – the only other “proven” ace doing double-duty this week

Yu Darvish – 4/30 @ TOR; 5/6 @ CLE – looks to build off of strong outing against the Yankees

No Brainer results

Week 2 – 8 GS, 4 QS, 4 W, 49.1 IP, 74 H+BB, 32 K’s, 19 ER, 3.47 ERA, 1.50 whip

Week 3 – 9 GS, 9 QS, 7 W, 68.3 IP, 57 H+BB, 58 K’s, 10 ER, 1.32 ERA, 0.83 whip

YTD – 17 GS, 13 QS, 11 W, 117.2 IP, 131 H+BB, 90 K’s, 29 ER, 2.22 ERA, 1.11 whip

Not too shabby

Hiroki Kuroda: 4/30 vs BAL; 5/5 @ KC – gets a couple nice matchups

Jeremy Hellickson – 4/30 vs SEA; 5/5 vs OAK – the A’s are the worst hitting team in the AL

Clay Buchholz – 4/30 vs OAK; 5/6 vs BAL – if it weren’t for the A’s, I probably wouldn’t recommend him

Ubaldo Jimenez – 5/1 @ CHW; 5/6 vs TEX – the Rangers are a tough matchup, but the Sox can be beat

Matt Moore – 5/1 vs SEA; 5/6 vs OAK – the A’s should help the youngster get back on track

Chris Sale – 5/1 vs CLE; 5/6 @ DET – Sale has a career 2.69 ERA and 3.12 ERA in his first 4 starts of his career

Tommy Milone – 4/30 @ BOS; 5/6 @ TB – Milone has been impressive so far, but faces the league’s best offense

Jason Hammel – 4/30 @ NYY; 5/6 @ BOS – this is a toss-up, Hammel is pitching well but faces the best two offenses

Not too shabby results

Week 2 -8 GS, 5 QS, 5 W, 53.1 IP, 57 H+BB, 38 K’s, 17 ER, 2.87 ERA, 1.07 whip

Week 3 -16 GS, 8 QS, 6 W, 99.1 IP, 133 H+BB, 78 K’s, 47 ER, 4.26 ERA, 1.34 whip

YTD – 24 GS, 13 QS, 11 W, 152.2 IP, 190 H+BB, 116 K’s, 64 ER, 3.77 ERA, 1.24 whip

Risky at best

Phil Huges: 5/1 vs BAL; 5/6 @ KC – not the same pitcher he once was

Luke Hochevar:  4/30 @ DET; 5/5 vs NYY – tough matchups for a below-average pitcher

Hector Noesi:  5/1 @ TB; 5/6 vs MIN – has yet to put it all together

Luis Mendoza:  5/1 @ DET; 5/6 vs NYY – see Luke Hochevar

Kyle Drabek:  4/30 vs TEX; 5/5 @ LAA – the Rangers own the 3rd best offense, Drabek struggles with command

Liam Hendriks: 4/30 @ LAA; 5/6 @ SEA – nice matchups, risky pitcher

Drew Hutchison:  5/1 vs TEX; 5/6 @ LAA – 2 homers in two starts and Texas is second in the league in homers

Jerome Williams:  5/1 vs MIN; 5/6 vs TOR – veteran journeyman is the model of inconsistency

Risky at best results:

Week 2 -18 GS, 5 QS, 4 W, 97.1 IP, 144 H+BB, 64 K’s, 54 ER, 4.99 ERA, 1.48 whip

Week 3 -13 GS, 6 QS, 2 W, 67.1 IP, 113 H+BB, 55 K’s, 41 ER, 5.48 ERA, 1.68 whip

YTD – 31 GS, 11 QS, 6 W, 164.2 IP, 257 H+BB, 119 K’s, 95 ER, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 whip

Other Favorable Matchups

Ricky Romero: 5/2 vs TEX

Yes, its the high-powered Rangers, but Romero owns them to the tune of an 0.92 ERA in 4 career starts

Justin Verlander: 5/2 vs KC

There are few teams that Verlander doesn’t dominate and KC is not an exception (career 14-2, 2.37 ERA)

Jeff Niemann: 5/3 vs SEA

Niemann doesn’t dominate many teams, but he is 4-0 with a 2.87 ERA against the Mariners

Jon Lester: 5/4 vs BAL

Despite his struggles this year, Lester is a perfect 14-0 with a 2.37 ERA against the Orioles

Other favorable matchups results:

Week 2 – 4 GS, 2 QS, 1 W, 28.2 IP, 31 H+BB, 29 K’s, 12 ER, 3.77 ERA, 1.08 whip

Week 3 – 3 GS, 2 QS, 1 W, 20 IP, 27 H+BB, 17 K’s, 5 ER, 2.25 ERA, 1.35 whip

YTD – 7 GS, 4 QS, 2 W, 48.2 IP, 58 H+BB, 46 K’s, 17 ER, 3.14 ERA, 1.19 whip

Good luck and see ya next week.

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Wins Matter

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Wins Matter

Posted on 27 April 2012 by Dennis Lawson

King Felix Hernandez

In this day and age of sabermetrics and statistical idolatry, it has become en vogue for those in the know to discount pitching wins as a useful measurement of pitching performance.  The simple gauges of wins versus losses and ERA have been replaced by WPA, BAbip, BAA, WHIP, and a host of other tools.  To a certain extent, I have no issue with this approach, and I applauded the forward thinking vote that awarded Felix Hernandez the Cy Young award with a losing record.

However, I also see a certain amount of over-correction to the statistical side that deserves some attention.  Ultimately, the goal for almost every baseball team is to win as many games as possible.  There are obvious exceptions to this goal, but they usually don’t come into play until long after a team has been determined to be dead in the water.  Logically, the ultimate goal of the starting pitcher is to help his team win as many games as possible.  If you are fine with this logic, then maybe you are willing to take one more logical leap of baseball faith.

A great pitcher on a really lousy team has a slight advantage over a great pitcher on a really good team when it comes to certain statistical categories.  Consider a situation in which the two pitchers in question find themselves in a nearly identical situation simultaneously.  Each is protecting a 1 run lead with runners on 1st and 3rd.  There are no outs, and it is the top of the 6th inning.  The pitcher who plays for a really good team has the option of surrendering a run in exchange for a double play.  The pitcher who plays for the lousy team has that same option, but his team is more likely to lose the game due to lack of offensive prowess.  The pitcher on the lousy team then has the option of going after the batter, while the pitcher on the really good team is more likely to play for the tie in hopes that his team comes back to take the lead again.

It would be hard to find fault in the logic of either pitcher, but it seems as though the pitcher on the lousy team just might have an advantage in the way he pitches for the win versus the way the pitcher on the really good team goes about reaching that same goal.  These theoretical situations are basically two variations of “pitching to the score”.  You may hear this phrase from time to time on broadcasts without much explanation.  In the case of the pitcher on the really good team, his primary concern is his team winning the game.  For the pitcher on the really lousy team, his primary concern may not be exactly the same thing.  Sure, he wants his team to win, but he may believe that the best chance for his team is to get it done via his arm.  He simply cannot trust the team’s offense to score another run.

Is that so bad?  Each of these pitchers is more a victim of circumstance than anything else.  One may have to sacrifice his ERA for the greater good.  The other may be denied a victory regardless of what he does in that 6th inning.

Given the two scenarios described, is it time to look past wins, losses, ERA, and all the sabermetric statistics as well when evaluating a pitcher’s performance for the season.  Could there also be a new all-encompassing stat that brings together the two sides and includes some normalization factor for pitching staff context, overall team success, park factor, and league factor as well?  If so, can we please call this great new stat the “Dennis”, because acronyms are overrated, but “Dennis” is forever.

 

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DOs And DONTs: Seattle Mariners

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DOs And DONTs: Seattle Mariners

Posted on 23 February 2012 by Daniel Aubain

Winning at fantasy baseball doesn’t requiring owning the best players on only the best teams in the league. Knowing where to look for the players who will bring in the numbers needed to compete for a championship is what makes a winner. Teams like the Seattle Mariners have several high-caliber fantasy baseball assets on their 40-man roster and are the type of team in flux where you could see other lesser-known players getting chances to play due to the fact winning real games on the field may not come easy in The Emerald City in 2012.

Below are a list of the fantasy baseball DOs and DON’Ts you need to be aware of when targeting Seattle Mariners players this drafting season:

  • DO expect to hear SP Felix Hernandez‘s name in the Cy Young Award debate again this season despite another season where big numbers in the Wins column could be hard to come by. King Felix finished fourth in the AL in Strikeouts with 222 in 2011 and should remain near the top with the elites of the game for years to come.
  • DON’T pass on OF Ichiro Suzuki this baseball season. He’s already slotted into the number three spot in the Mariners’ lineup and could see an increase in his Home Runs and RBI totals but a reduction in Stolen Bases. He’s in the final year of his contract and could be playing for one last multi-year deal.
  • DO target 2B Dustin Ackley as your primary second baseman if you miss out on the elites (Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler) and second tier guys (Dan Uggla, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips). Ackley should easily provide double-digit homers and stolen bases while not killing your batting average (.270s) and chipping in decent Runs and RBI numbers hitting out of the two hole.
  • DON’T forget about CL Brandon League as a late-round closer option. He filled in very nicely last season (37 Saves, 2.79 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) and has very little competition in this bullpen to lose the job.
  • DO expect the Mariners to utilize three players at the catcher position this season. Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo (RH) and John Jaso (LH) will each see significant time behind the plate if they are all still on this team come Opening Day. Montero expects to get the bulk of his starts at DH but I just can’t imagine an organization investing this heavily in developing a DH-only player.
  • DON’T go sniffing around this team’s other starting pitchers for draft bargains unless you expect big things from rookie Hector Noesi. Brought over with Montero from the New York Yankees for Michael Pineda, expect the Mariners to run him out there as their number five guy to see how he performs. Dynasty leaguers may want to draft and stash him away if your league uses a minor league system. He should be avoided in all other league types until he proves to be the real deal.
  • DO target OF Mike Carp as a fourth or fifth outfield option in deeper leagues for his .270/70/20/80/5 potential.
  • DON’T know what to expect out of 3B Chone Figgins in 2012? Join the club. He’s moving into the leadoff spot, being handed the starting third base job going into Spring Training and could continue being the fantasy bust he’s been since signing with Seattle. Or, will he return to a player who can hit .280 and steal 40+ bases in a thin third base field. I’ll be taking a chance on him if he is still sitting out there at the end of each of my drafts.
  • DO keep an eye on 3B Kyle Seager this Spring. Figgins HAS TO be on a short leash and Seager will be the benefactor if/when Figgins falters. The term “sleeper” is so overused these days but toss this name around in front of your league mates and watch for the blank stares. Sleeper!
  • DON’T go crazy drafting 1B Justin Smoak. He may hit you 20 home runs but at the price of a .230 batting average. You can do better elsewhere.

The Mariners are another one of those teams who have a few “can’t miss” players on their rosters followed by a ton of question marks. The good thing is this is the kind of team who’ll be quick to pull the trigger to find out what type of talent some of their younger players have and could uncover a few hidden gems come summertime.

Our Full Spectrum Baseball writers are working hard to finish up all 30 team “DOs and DON’Ts” articles and we’re about halfway done. Be sure to check out the entire series of articles while waiting for us to finish the rest over the next two weeks. Also use the comments section below to let me know if I over/under-valued a player on this team.

If you use Twitter, please follow me at @DJAubain to talk everything and anything baseball. You can also follow @FullSpectrumBB for article links as well as “liking” us on our Facebook page.

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