Tag Archive | "League Debut"

Welcome to the Bigs, Kid: Jose Fernandez

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Welcome to the Bigs, Kid: Jose Fernandez

Posted on 08 April 2013 by T.J. McDonald

Welcome back for another exciting year of fantasy baseball action.  The season is only a week old but we have already had one of the top prospects in the game, Jose Fernandez, make his unexpected debut & boy did he not disappoint! In the 2013 debut edition of Welcome to the bigs, kid we will be profiling and discussing him and his debut outing. Also as always we will be discussing his fantasy value for the rest of the year and many years to come.


Jose Fernandez is a 20 year old right hand pitcher from Cuba for the Miami Marlins.  He is the third youngest Marlin to make their major league debut and youngest starting pitcher. He was drafted by the Marlins with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. In his first full professional season last year in 25 starts 14 coming in low A and 11 in high A he went 14-1, striking out 158 batters and walking just 35 in 134.0 innings. His ERA was 1.75 and his was WHIP 0.93.  He was ranked as the #1 Marlins prospect & #5 in all of baseball to start the year by Baseball America.  He was surprisingly called up to be the Marlins 5th starter to start the year, after they had two projected starters of their rotation start the year on the disabled list.

Once the announcement was made he would start the rotation, the skeptics were out as to whether he would be a viable fantasy option this year or not. After his debut performance I am confidante in saying he will be. I sat down yesterday and with the help of DirectTV watched every pitch of his debut outing and not only did he not let me down he greatly exceeded by expectations.  He went a very strong 5 innings with a Marlins debut record of 8 strike outs. He pitched flawlessly the first three innings getting the side out in order all three and striking out the side in the 2nd. He then got into a slight jam in the 4th after allowing a single with one out and a walk with two outs  before getting the next hitter to ground out.  His control that inning did seem to be a bit shaky out of the stretch as he walked one and went to a 2-2 count with the final batter of the inning. He was able to get it under control and get a inning ending ground out leaving both runners stranded.  In his fifth and final inning of work he gave up his lone earned run but was able to limit the damage by leaving a runner stranded on second.  He exited after throwing 80 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Now that we know a little bit about Jose Fernandez and have detailed how his first outing in the big leagues went, lets talk fantasy value. After watching his impressive debut there is no doubt in my mind that not only is he a top dynasty/keeper lg player but that he will also be a relevant redraft mixed leagued starter.  Will he have his ups and downs, yes and wins may be hard to come by playing for the lowly Marlins but the Ks and other quality pitchers stats will be there. One thing to keep an eye on however is that the Marlins do plan on limiting him to around 150 to 170 this season. He only went 5 today and I foresee that to be a pretty regular occurrence.   This may mean he will not be leading your team come playoff time but first you have to reach the playoffs and he could be the type of free pickup that helps you reach that goal.

Regarding his keeper/dynasty league value there is not a lot to say that already hasn’t been. He was the #5 prospect in baseball coming into the season and had a very impressive debut. Add to the fact that he is only 20 years old, if your league mates haven’t been smart enough to roster him already drop what you are doing and RUN to pick him up. Pitchers like this don’t come along everyday and in a long term format he looks to be the type of pitcher that can anchor your pitching staff for many years to come.  As of this writing he is currently owned in 70% of CBS, 32% of yahoo, & 9.9% of ESPN leagues, which I imagine will have a pretty big spike following his debut outing.

Now that we have welcomed Jose Fernandez to the bigs, will you have him rostered? I do. Let me know in the comments and as always follow me on twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs. Enjoy the season gamers, it has only just begun.




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Detroit Tigers Quintin Berry – A Dirtbag?

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Detroit Tigers Quintin Berry – A Dirtbag?

Posted on 15 February 2013 by Jennifer Gosline

There is no shortage of big names on the Detroit Tigers. Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander may grab the headlines on one of the most polarizing teams in the league, but what about the other guys?


The other guys whose names do not litter the media; the players with the not so glamorous roles of base stealing, sac bunting, and quick footed pinch runners, like Quintin Berry. Manager Jim Leyland once referred to these players as “Dirtbags”, the little guys who do not have reporters anxiously waiting for an interview or to snap a photo of their victory smiles. The ones that stand in the shadows of their celebrity teammates, but play hard and make a difference for their team. Dirtbags are the underdogs. With the cameras, lights, and articles swirling around the hype of the All Star starts and MVP awards, the media overlooks players like Berry.

Berry has something that a lot of other players do not have or else they just keep it buried deep within them. He has an affection for baseball that is pure and raw, the feeling that every baseball fan and probably every player gets when it is the start of the season. I am not sure why some other players do not show this emotion. Perhaps, it is because they are nervous of it being seen as weak, or that it will overshadow their ability as a ballplayer. All I know is that Berry wears his heart on his sleeve and he does not hold back.

On May 23, 2012 Berry made his Major League debut with the Tigers at Cleveland where he went 1-5 with 1 Run. He came onto the field bright-eyed and with the unbridled enthusiasm of a little leaguer. His first hit in a Tiger’s uniform resulted in a double… on a bunt. It was an unconventional bunt double, but nonetheless, his speed was proven. His quick feet and boundless energy caught the attention of the team and the fans. It is guys like Berry that help make a team thrive. The outfielder’s spark was infectious with every move he made. Even watching from the dugout his facial expressions showed it all. He put the child-like excitement back into the game.

He may not have had the most appealing slash line at .258/.330/.354 but it was the entertaining factor and of course his hustle, that was simply invaluable. Baseball needs more than just those big hitters. They need a team to work together. The animated Tiger proved himself over the season to be a hard working replacement for the injured Austin Jackson. It was Berry’s dirtbag quality and timely plays that kept him on the roster even after the veteran starting center fielder returned.

Berry had 44 Runs and 29 RBIs after the Tigers called him up last season. But the magnitude of stolen bases might be what lands Berry a spot on the 25 man roster in 2013. Last season, he swiped 21 bags out of 21 attempts, leading the major leagues in stolen base percentage with 100%. The next Tiger with the most steals in 2012 was Austin Jackson, with 12. However, Jackson’s injury definitely decreased his numbers last season; he finished with 22 in 2011.

With little hitting power, this speedy outfielder has a Spring Training invite to battle for a coveted spot on the active roster. I agree that Berry has some work to do to prove he deserves that place. Passion can only go so far, but there is more to Berry than being a cheerleader and he is dying for every opportunity to prove it. He will be competing with outfielders Don Kelly and Brennan Boesch who, along with Berry, are left handed hitters. Boesch may be the stronger hitter, and Kelly may be more versatile, but no one has the speed and energy of Berry.

While no one can ignore a Triple Crown or a Home Run Derby winner, nor should they, Berry may just be that gritty player that gives the Tigers an edge. He gives hope for every underrated career minor leaguer who just wants a chance in the bigs. This season, Comerica Park might once again be filled with the echoing chants of “Berry, Berry”. However, the 28 year old would be happy to fly under the radar and be lost in the shadows of the star studded Detroit Tigers. He just wants to be a part of the team. Every club should have a player like Quintin Berry, a guy with an honorable title of: Dirtbag.

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Daniel Straily

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Finders Keepers: The Daniel Straily Edition

Posted on 06 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

We now have come to the point of the fantasy season where it is painfully obvious for a lot of fantasy gamers that they are no longer in playoff contention. Resist the urge to turn to your attention to fantasy football because while there is always next year, for owners out of contention in Keeper and Dynasty leagues now is prime time to mold your foundation or add to an already solid one. On Friday, Daniel Straily of the Oakland Athletics made his major league debut going six innings with 5 hits allowed, 1 Er, 1 BB and 5 Ks.  While fairly unknown and barely sniffing the prospect list rankings this preseason, he shot up the professional ladder with a dominate performance in AA and AAA this season. Along the way becoming a very hyped and big potential prospect leading us to the latest edition of Finders Keepers.

Daniel Straily is a 6’2  220 lb. right handed pitching prospect out of Marshall University. He was drafted in the 24th round of the 2009 MLB draft by the Oakland Athletics. While fairly unheralded before this season. He burst on to the scene with 175Ks in 138 and a third innings between AA and AAA this season more than any other pitcher in professional baseball and 21 more Ks than MLB leader Stephen Strasburg. All the while shooting up Kevin Goldenstein’s top 12 fantasy prospects for 2012 eventually landing at #1 on August 2nd 2012.  To be clear these rankings are a bit different from other prospect rankings; these are strictly for 2012 fantasy purposes. So not only do talent and recent performance play a role in the rankings, potential paths to the big leagues also factor in. He had a 2.60 ERA in 22 minor league games pitched this season.  In 85 and a third innings pitched in AA he had 108 Ks and when moved to the A’s AAA affiliate in the very hitter friendly Pacific Coast League he continued his dominance with a record of 5-2 with a 1.36 ERA and 67 Ks. He does not have overpowering stuff but has great command with his 90-92 MPH fastball. Plus command and control of this pitch, a plus rated change up and an above average slider.  He used this arsenal of plus rated pitchers as well as his superb command and control to register a 11.39 K per nine innings ratio in the minors, the best rate in all of baseball.

As for his long term fantasy value.  He does not project to be a sure fire ace but could very well easily become a solid #2 pitcher for your fantasy squad and who doesn’t need a Robin for their Batman. He pitches in a very hitter friendly park and for an organization that is know for developing under the radar pitching prospects. Let’s be honest here fantasy gamers, few were high on Straily entering this season but the strikeout numbers are legit and very intriguing. While we only have one major league start to go by, we do have the rest of the season to get  a good look at what he has to offer going forward. Everyone can use a pitcher with great command who walks very few and has a ridiculously  good K/9 rate, I know I could. Stats are what we are chasing here and he has all the looks of a strikeout machine. If you are in need of Ks add him now.  There was quite a stink over the weekend about him not being in the Yahoo and ESPN player pool until Friday for ESPN and Saturday for Yahoo.  So, he may very well still be available under your leagues waiver rules. He is only owned in 1% of Yahoo leagues, 9% of ESPN leagues but is owned in 51% of CBS leagues as they have had him in their player pool all season. If you happen to play in a Yahoo or ESPN league and are fortunate even to have saved your high waiver priority don’t be the one weeping. Find him, claim him and keep him. I grade his keeper potential as a B+.

Are you now at the point in your keeper or dynasty league this season where you  have one eye on the future? How do you feel about Straily not being Yahoo’s and ESPN’s player pool prior to his call up and will you be burning your waiver priority to claim 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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3 Up and 3 Down: Los Angeles Dodgers and more

Posted on 04 August 2012 by Gary Marchese

It is that time again for the weekly 3 Up and 3 Down column.  As always, thanks for reading and you can contact me through facebook, twitter @gmarchesej, email at gmarchesej@aol.com and under this article.

The three up for this week are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who flexed their financial might,  Matt Harvey, as he made his major league debut and one other successful start and Joba Chamberlain, who returned to the big leagues after 14 months away.

3 Up

Los Angeles Dodgers:The Dodgers were sold to a group led by former NBA player Magic Johnson earlier this year.  They are ½ a game out of first place in the NL West and they made several moves at Tuesdays trade deadline.  They acquired reliever Brandon League from the Mariners.  They also acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins and Shane Victorino from the Phillies.  Things are looking up in Hollywood for Donnie Baseball and the Dodgers.

Matt Harvey has looked very impressive in his two major league starts with the Mets.  In his first start he struck out 11 batters.  He struck out seven in his second start, the 11 in his first start were the most by a Mets pitcher in his debut in franchise history.  He is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA.

Joba Chamberlain made his return on Wednesday coming into a blow out game.  He didn’t pitch particularly well but he did pitch 1 1/3 innings and get his feet wet.  He could be a huge factor down the stretch for the Yankees bullpen. He could become the seventh inning guy and really shorten the game as he, Dave Robertson and Rafael Soriano can close out the games.

3 Down

Josh Hamilton has been going through a tough stretch and finally came out and said he is attempting to quit tobacco and it is really affecting him right now.  His numbers have just been awful and it might be because he has struggled with quitting tobacco.

Ivan Nova has really been hit lately and he has been losing a lot more then he has in a long time.  Nova got knocked around the other night by the Baltimore Orioles.  He gave up nine runs and then said he just pitched in bad luck.  It looks like he may need to mature a little more and learn.  It may have come to easy to him in the beginning and this is what happens.  He is 10-5 with a 4.53 Era this season.

The Miami Marlins are down because they haven’t lived up to expectations and now traded away their team as the trade deadline came.  They traded their star Hanley Ramirez.  They traded Anibal Sanchez one of their pitchers, Gaby Sanchez and more.  They just got their new stadium and they are already tearing their team apart.  I don’t know how they expect to sustain a fan base in South Florida.

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Welcome (Back) to the Bigs, Kid: Domonic Brown

Posted on 02 August 2012 by T.J. McDonald

Tuesday, the day of the MLB trade deadline, the Philadelphia Phillies traded CF Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers fo reliever Josh Lindblom and Double-A pitcher Ethan Martin. In a separate deal also Tuesday, the Phillies then sent RF Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants for RF Nate Schierholtz, Double-A catcher Tommy Joseph and Class A pitcher Seth Rosin. After the trade dusts cleared the Phillies were left with two vacant starting outfield spots, leading to the call up Tuesday of a once heralded and once-top five prospect in all of baseball, Domonic Brown. Making this his third stint in the majors, I will now go on to profile this post hype prospect and his potential value for yearly and keeper/dynasty fantasy leagues.

Domonic Brown is a 24 year old right fielder drafted in the 20th round of the 2006 Major league draft out of Redan High School in Stone Mountain Georgia. Following the draft he planned to attend the University of Miami to play wide receiver on the football team but the the Phillies offered him a $200,000 signing bonus to choose baseball instead, which he ultimately did.  He was ranked as the 48th best prospect by Baseball America in 2009, #15 in 2010 and #4 in 2011.  Baseball America also had him ranked as the Phillies best prospect in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He initially made his major league debut on July 28th 2010 and had another stint in the majors in 2011. In 280 major league ABs he has not met expectations with a career line of .236 with 7 HRs and 32 RBIs.  However in 1989 minor ABs he hit a solid .296 with 58 HR, 106 SBs and a .343 OBP%. He has added left field and center field to his resume and Charlie Manuel said he could see time at all three outfield positions. The initial plan was to have him in the lineup Tuesday night, but a delayed flight out of Syracuse meant he did not arrive until game time. He ended up pinch-hitting, knocking a single up the middle in the eighth inning to improve his batting average to 1.000. He was in the starting lineup Wednesday batting 6th and playing left field. He went 0 for 4.

Now as for his fantasy value, I know a lot of yearly and even some keeper/dynasty league owners may have given up on this once heralded prospect.  However post sleepers come along more frequently than most think. A recent example being Alex Gordon and with Brown only being 24 he has the potential to be the next one. In yearly leagues he is a somewhat a debatable add due to his past disappointing performance at the major league level. However depending on your roster strength and teams needs, he could be a valuable piece to your team for the rest of the season. If you are looking for an outfielder with good speed potential and a high OBP% he is your guy. Due to the open spots left in the Phillies outfield by the departures of Pence and Victorino, Brown should get very solid playing time for the rest of the season. The Phillies will want to know if he is the player they thought they were getting when they drafted him in ’06 and if he fits into their long term plans.  This will lead to him being an everyday player and a possibly a valuable waiver wire add for the stretch run in yearly leagues.

Now for keeper and dynasty leagues, he is a must add.  While he has under performed in the past he will be given every chance to succeed this time around as the Phillies seem to be on the verge of rebuild mode. With everyday playing time and 5 or so weeks left in the fantasy year before playoffs start.  What better time to add Brown let him boost your teams OBP% and steal numbers as well as audition for a potential keeper spot on your team. He is only rostered in 4% of yahoo, 1% of ESPN &  19% of CBS leagues.  While he is still widely available in all leagues strike while the iron is hot. If he goes on a tear in the next week or two his availability will no longer be so widespread.

Will you be picking up Domonic Brown? I did. Or has this once top prospect bright future dimmed to much for your liking?  Let me know in the comments and, as always, follow me on Twitter @FantasyzrTJ for all your fantasy baseball needs.

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