Tag Archive | "Starting Pitcher"

The Wood That Makes It Good

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Wood That Makes It Good

Posted on 30 May 2013 by Will Emerson

If you have Travis Wood on your fantasy team, you are a lucky duck.  For real! Travis Wood has been the bargain of bargains at the fantasy starting pitcher slot this season. Even I, a man with a certain fondness for Wood and fantasy crush on the entire Cubs rotation, could not, would not, have predicted the start that Travis Wood is having. The thing now, from the fantasy baseball view, is can we hope to get out of Wood for the remainder of the season? A valid question that will be asked of any player who puts up good numbers, virtually out of nowhere. If you are currently a proud Travis Wood owner you are probably, even as you read this, wondering what the future holds for the Cubs’ wily southpaw. If you’re not, you probably should be. Okay, now that all Travis Wood owners have this thought rattlin’ around their noggins, time to drop some knowledge on them.

TravisWood

Personally, I have liked Travis Wood for a couple of seasons now. “Why,” you may ask. Well, I don’t really know. Travis Wood is just one of those pitchers I like, but cannot quite pinpoint the reason for this “liking”. Other members of this club include such big names as Chris Volstad and Brett Cecil. I guess Cecil sort of has K potential, but really none of them offer anything in the way of star, or even above-average, potential in real or fantasy baseball. They are not guys I peg as sleepers at the beginning of a season, but rather, guys who I might spot start here and there, at best. I am a K/9 guy, so liking Wood is very strange for me. Wood’s career K/9 is 6.78, so he should not even be on mike likability radar. But he is. Now, K-rate aside, there are pitchers who can make do whilst allowing more contact. We call those guys crafty. Picture a Mark Buehrle type. A solid innings eater, who won’t be especially flashy, but will get the job done for your team, more often than not. The key for those types of pitchers is to keep the ball on the ground and not give up hard hit balls.  So, does Wood fall into this Buehlre-esque (not to be confused with burlesque) mold? Maybe?

Here are Wood’s career numbers- 21-25, 3.94 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 6.78 K/9, 2.94 BB/9, 33.5 GB% and a 71.9 LOB%. Seems sort of like a Buehrle like guy, right? I mean, personally I might be a bit concerned about the ground ball rate, but Wood seems to be working with it, for the most part. Wood’s career line drive rate is right around 20%, which seems about average. Now let’s look at Wood’s 2013 numbers at this point in the season.

In 2013, Wood is 4-2, with a 2.24 ERA, .93 WHIP, 5.82 K/9 and a 2.83 BB/9. So compared to his career and, pretty much projected, numbers the K-rate, just like the ERA and WHIP, are down significantly. So what’s changed? Well, his ground ball rate, while still lower than I’d like, is actually up over five percent from 2012. More ground balls, in theory, will generally help a pitcher’s cause, that is for darned sure! Wood is also walking slightly fewer hitters, down a little (about .11 per nine innings) from his career number. So those numbers will help a bit, but the biggest improvement right now for ol’ Travis is his pitching with men on base.

To this point in 2013, Wood has a LOB% of 82. Eighty-frickin’-two, folks! For those that may not know, that is quite a good strand rate. Not only as that more than 10% higher than Wood’s normal numbers, but it is almost 10 higher than the league average! Now, it does not take a rocket surgeon to realize that preventing baserunners from scoring is a good idea, but the question is, can Wood sustain this rate? It’s really hard to say yes to that question. I don’t think there are many, if any, people who believe in that rate continuing. Obviously, if you start letting more baserunners score, your ERA will rise. The thing is, even if the strand rate goes down to the league average or in that vicinity, remember Wood has not been allowing a ton of runners to reach base.  So even if Wood’s strand rate was right around league average his ERA would still be right around three. Now before you get all crazy and start telling people I said his ERA would be around three the rest of the way, just wait a tick.

I am not saying Wood will still be tossing up these ace like numbers. throughout the rest of this season. Wood’s ERA should finish in the mid threes though, which is a bit of alright! Wood’s been throwing a cutter more frequently, and with more consistency, which has definitely contributed to his success thus far. So while he will not keep up his current pace, I feel like he will definitely pitch better than some of the current projections that have his ERA the season being up over four. I need a few more strikeouts for my liking, but he definitely has some fantasy upside the rest of the way.

If you have Travis Wood on your roster, his price may not get much higher than it is now and it would definitely behoove you to test trade market waters. That being said, it is still tough to say who believes in Wood enough to give you a premium return in a deal. Wood has been pitching very well dating back to the end of last season, but there is just no track record or even any sort of expectations that have popped up, pointing to this sort of performance. It is definitely worth testing the waters. Wood should be good (I’m a poet and I don’t even know it!) going forward, just not quite this good. Hey, put it out there and see what happens, I mean there’s always one in every league, right? Let’s just hope you are not that one. I mean in the words of Mike McDermott, “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.”

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Welcome to the Bigs, Kid: Jose Fernandez

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

JoseFernandez

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.

 

 

 

Comments (0)

Edison Volquez: Stream Dream?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Comments (0)

Bursting Bubbles

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bursting Bubbles

Posted on 18 February 2013 by Will Emerson

The Blue Jays are not going to win the World Series. Well, I mean, not, not ever. I am sure they will win the World Series again at some point in time, but not in 2013. Yes, you read that correctly. It is not my opinion, it is a fact. No, I did not ride a Delorean into the future and steal Biff Tannen’s Sports Almanac. I am not a soothsayer. Well, you got me, I almost never say sooth. I am not a mind reader and I do not have ESP. I just know that that Toronto Blue Jays will not win the World Series in 2013. This is a boldish statement, I suppose. And I am sure the best way to back this up would be with statistical proof and some sort of makings of sound reasoning, which I don’t have per se. What I do have is the 2012 Miami Marlins.

Toronto_Blue_Jays

In 2012 the Miami Marlins opened up their hearts and, well, checkbooks to Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Ozzie Guillen and Mark Buehrle among others. They opened a new ballpark and they were the talk of the town. Expectations were high in the Sunshine State. The Marlins and their fans were ready to take the world, or at least the NL East, by storm. So how did that work out for the Marlins? Well they finished absolutely dead last in the NL East. They took absolutely nothing by storm. Now the Toronto Blue Jays are not the Miami Marlins, despite Toronto being the Miami of Canada, but you have to admit there are a few glaring similarities.

The 2012 Marlins went out and got themselves a superstar speedster shortstop. So did the 2013 Blue Jays. The exact same superstar shortstop, to be specific. The 2012 Marlins had a new manager. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had another speedster, to go along with their superstar speedster shortstop, by the name of Emilio Bonifacio. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins got Mark Buehrle to supplement their rotation and eat some delicious innings. So did the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had Josh Johnson in their rotation. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had a fading starting pitcher named Ricky. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. The 2012 Marlins had a couple of “superstar” hitters returning. So do the 2013 Blue Jays. Quite a few similarities there, wouldn’t ya say? Of course with similarities, there are some differences as well.

Unlike the 2012 Marlins, the 2013 Blue Jays did not, or have not, inked a “big time” closer. But, they don’t have a totally proven closer either (although I do like Santos and Jannsen) and after Bell kind of had some early season implosions it did not look like the 2012 Marlins did either. Also, the 2012 Miami Marlins did not sign a Cy Young starting pitcher like 2013 Blue Jays did. Even if R.A. Dickey does not, and he more than likely won’t, duplicate his 2012, he could still be a very reliable starter and I feel that does give the 2013 Blue Jays a slight edge over the 2012 Marlins in the starting rotation area. The 2013 Blue Jays also, unlike the 2012 Marlins, added another All-Star outfielder. But, in Melky Cabrera, does anyone really know what to expect in 2013, post PED suspension? At the very least he could be a Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison for the Jays, so there is that. The 2013 Jays also have Edwin Encarnacion, which is maybe one more bat the 2012 Marlins did not have. So yeah, on paper, the 2013 Blue Jays are a slightly better looking team than the Marlins were a year ago, but I still think Blue Jays fans will be in for a disappointing season.

I feel like there is just so much darned hype and foofarah surrounding the busy Blue Jay off-season and the team they have put together for 2013. It is a classic trap. A set up for what will seem like failure. In baseball especially there is just a certain, as the French would say, “I don’t know what” that causes what appears to be a very good team on paper, to just not come together as a cohesive unit and win a bunch of games. Look, I can’t say for sure that it is World Series or bust for the Jays and their fans, but if they don’t make the playoffs, at least, you would have to think that the season would definitely be considered as something of a failure. You know what, I am stating here first, not only will the Blue Jays not win the 2013 World Series, they will not make the playoffs in 2013. Boom. Roasted.

Not only do I expect a fairly sizable regression from Dickey and Cabrera, but even without that, the Jays are also in arguably the toughest division in baseball. The Yankees always find ways to win despite whatever soap operatic-like drama or supposed gaping weakness or what have you they may have going on. The Rays have just an all around solid squad with some superb pitching to boot. The Orioles made the playoffs last season somehow and the Red Sox should be much improved over last season (although it would be hard for them to not be). The Blue Jays have a scary roster to be sure and I can’t say how convincing my argument has been, but I am just not ready to hand anything over to them just yet. I mean, R.A. Dickey had a downright spectacular 2012, but he is no Dave Stieb. I just feel like history is getting ready to repeat itself..sort of.

Hey, I’m not saying the Blue Jays are going to finish last in their division like the 2012 Marlins did. I am certainly not saying that Blue Jays fans should not be excited about their chances. I am just saying that someone needs to burst the bubble. Well, okay, I guess no one has to go bursting the bubble, I just wanted to do it, what of it? Jays fans should just temper their expectations a tad, so they will not be as crushed come October when their team is no longer playing, much like those poor, poor souls in Miami, four months ago. But hey, what do I know, right? Well, okay, I do know this is definitely the most times I have typed the numbers 2012 and 2013 in a single post. Good day and godspeed!

Comments (0)

The Free Agent Lohse Down

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Free Agent Lohse Down

Posted on 28 January 2013 by Will Emerson

As spring trainging rapidly apporoaches, there are still some ballplayers looking for a place to call home this upcoming summer. The most prominent of which are probably Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse (Austin Kearns just misses landing in this tier of free agents, but only by a hair). Well Bourn may find his new identity in Flushing very shortly if those Metropolitans can skirt that pesky rule about giving up draft picks. Let’s take a look at that for a hot minute.

klohse

Goodness knows, we would not want the Mets to miss out on a first round draft pick. They could very well miss out on drafting the next Lastings Milledge, for crying out loud! Heaven forbid! I mean really, truthfully, Mets, what are you really gonna get with your 1st round pick? Hmmm? Your recent track record is not, well, sepctacular in that department. Okay, I am being a bit harsh on the Mets 1st round picks, because their recent picks, with the exception of Matt Harvey, have yet to get to the majors. So, sure, a bit harsh, maybe? But the last Mets first rounder to consistently produce at a high level would be David Wright. Wright was drafted in 2001. The best 1st rounder before him? Arguably Preston Wilson in 1992 or maybe Jay Payton in ’94. So, really Mets, do you really need this pick, when you can get a known commodity in Michael Bourn? Just some food for thought there. But, alas, I digress, let’s get back to the other remaining prominent free agent, Kyle Lohse.

I am positive that plenty of teams could use and possibly have interest in Kyle Lohse and why wouldn’t they? Did you see what he did in 2012?! The surface statistics are eye-popping! 16-3, with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Wow! I’m sure many were/are thinking the same thing is me. “What?! Really?! Kyle Lohse?!” Mind boggling would be a way that I would describe these numbers. But I’ll dig a little deeper into the numbers in just a bit, cause an advanced stat nerd like myself does not hold much stock in these superficial statistics. So, if you said there was a starting pitcher on the market who posted those numbers last season for a playoff team, you would think the offers would be pouring in, right? Pouring in, folks! What team out there would not want that in their rotation, right? If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, for Lohsey, and agent Scott Boras, it is not. Instead of Kyle’s celly ringing off the non-existent hook (cause it’s a cell phone and thus has no hook) all he has been hearing is a cricket chorus.

First, and foremost, do not feel the need to shed any tears for Kyle Lohse. He did turn down $13.3 million to return to the Cardinals, so he is certainly not someone who needs our pity. Second of all, aside from having to beat that offer, Lohse also has that whole draft pick compensation thing attached to signing him as well. So, that will drive some prospective suitors away, for sure, especially of they are on the fence about this asking price. Still though, 16-3 with a sub-3 ERA? That has got to be worth a good chunk of change you would think. Edwin Jackson is making $13 million in 2013. Jackson was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 2012 and he got paid, so why no love for Lohse? Even if the numbers are way above what Lohse should be tossing up there ( and they are), he has still got to be worth a decent offer, no? It appears that Major League teams are increasingly more savvy when it comes to looking deeper into a pitcher’s stats and many, like yours truly, see Lohse’s 2012 season as mostly smoke and mirrors and you are about to kind of see why.

Although Lohse had an ERA under three in 2012, his xFIP was just south of four at 3.96 and his BABIP of .262, which made him an extremely lucky pitcher. So you can see there is a regression a comin’ friends. Using Edwin Jackson as a comparison once more, E-Jax had an xFIP  of 3.79 and a BABIP of .278 in 2012, so this is a fair comparison for Lohse. So that $13.3 million should look pretty good for Kyle. But the problem with getting Lohse the contract he wants does not stop there. Not only do many people doubt the legitimacy of Lohse’s 2012 numbers overall, but they doubt how well he can pitch outside of Busch Stadium or even not as a Cardinal. Kyle’s ERA was over a full run higher on the road than at home. While the difference in xFIP is not as significant, it was still a third of a run higher on the road. So all else being equal, not only should that $13.3 million look pretty darned good, but it may be the best bet for Lohse at this point, even though he wants a multi-year contract. Well Kyle, (may I call you Kyle?)that multi-year contract is probably not showing up at your doorstep anytime soon, so you may need to start thinking about just pitching in 2013. Expecting last year’s numbers from Lohse would be downright silly, to say the least, so the best best bet for him would be to sign whatever one year deal he can grab and prove he can be solid once again and look for more dough in 2014.

As I mentioned, a good amount of ballclubs could certainly use Lohse’s services even if, as expected, he regresses closer to his xFIP. Early projections have an ERA around 3.70 for the upcoming season, which is still not terrible, but it is no 2.86. Kyle is unlikely to put up ace numbers in 2013 and he can’t be playing the market as if he is going to, because no one else seems to be doing that. I think it is quite safe to say no one is buying into last season’s numbers from Lohse. The early projected numbers for 2013 peg Lohse as a third or fourth starter in a rotation. The good news though is although his ERA is looking to regress, his xFIP has been improving each of the last three seasons. In 2010 it was 4.79, down to 4.04 in ’11 and slightly lower 3.96 last season. On the other side of that coin, that minor improvement in xFIP, will still, most likely, not translate into an ERA below 3.50 in 2013. Or will it? Hey, ya never know, right? After all his 2012 xFIP should not have translated to anything remotely close to a 2.86 ERA, but somehow that’s the number that will appear in the ERA column on the back of Kyle Lohse’s baseball cards next to 2012. The bottom line here, Kyle, is you need come down off your pedestal and know your actual worth and if you think you’re worth more, you’re gonna have to go out and prove it. Until that day comes, sir, you keep your ear to the grindstone.

 

 

Comments (0)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here