Archive for August, 2012

Available Two Start Starters (Sept. 3-9)

This week’s two-start group features a pair of senior circuit hurlers and a junior circuit southpaw. Read the rest of this entry »

Eric Stults is a Useful Spot Start Option

He has thrown 69.2 innings over 10 starts and 15 appearances with a 2.45 ERA, pitches in one of the best pitchers parks in baseball, and yet is owned in just 8% of Yahoo! leagues. So what gives, why isn’t anyone owning Eric Stults?
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Playing Hide and Seek with Aramis Ramirez

Aramis Ramirez hasn’t always been this kind of hitter. He has occasionally been productive in April and May over his long career — but that’s an exception to his rule. In his career, and especially over the last several seasons, Ramirez has had a serious case of Jeckyl and Hyde.

In 2010, it very much looked like Ramirez was finished. Over the course of the first half of the 2010 season, Ramirez hit .178/.243/.296 with six home runs and just seven doubles. Ramirez was hitting the waiver wire all over fantasy baseball, but patient owners were rewarded. From that point on, Ramirez hit .294/.338/.583 with 19 home runs, 14 doubles, and 60 RBI – vintage Aramis Ramirez.

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Deep Impact: Addison Russell

When scouting we get a snapshot of a player. The hope is, the player we see today evolves into the player we envision him to be. Ideally, we can watch this progression and alter our perspectives as time passes. That brings me to today’s prospect, Oakland’s Addison Russell. Twice this year I’ve had the chance to see Russell with the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York – Penn League. But, a year before I was able to see him live, my Bullpen Banter colleague Steve Fiorindo scouted Russell at the Perfect Game Showcase in San Diego. After several weeks and a promotion, Stephen Kuperman was able to see him against more advanced pitching in the Midwest League. It is my hope that these three individual looks at Russell demonstrates that prospects evolve over time and while we can learn a lot in a single look at a player, scouting in small sample sizes can be problematic if we aren’t open to new information and making adjustments. Of course, I’ll also talk about his fantasy outlook, but you’ll have to humor me for just a moment.

Before I begin, take a brief look at Steve’s video of Russell at the Perfect Game Showcase. Read the rest of this entry »

Kicking Rocks: September Stash Busts

Whether you like it or not, it’s time again for me to throw a tantrum reminiscent of a nine-year old sore loser, stomp my feet, and threaten to take my ball home as the real baseball world, once again, ignores my fantasy needs this season. It is the savvy fantasy player that does the necessary research and scouting to put together a strong list of potential September call-ups to supplement their fantasy roster in an effort to either stave off challengers for first place or to make a strong late-season push for a championship run. You not only look for talent but opportunity as well and assuming it’s the MLB bottom-feeders that will likely turn to their youth late in the year, you select a strong group of young up-and-comers. But apparently an organization’s desire to win a minor-league championship trumps their desire to see their youth face big-league competition and now my bench is littered with promising names that may never see any action at the major league level this year, thus rendering my list of September stashes useless to me in a fight for a title. Read the rest of this entry »

Roto Riteup: August 31, 2012

Zach has really been fattening you all up with so many roto stories lately. I’d be careful; I’m pretty sure he is a witch. He turned me into a newt…I got better.

• I hope by now that you’ve all been paying attention to Jonathan Lucroy. His seasonal line (though only 243 plate appearances so far) is .a robust .332/.384/.555. If he qualified, that triple slash equates to a .398 wOBA that would be second among catchers behind only Buster Posey. Last night Lucroy had himself a 3-for-5 night with a home run and seven RBI’s. He is still owned in less than half of all Yahoo! formats and not even 44% of ESPN leagues. Grab him. Now.
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Bullpen Report, August 30, 2012

• After eight consecutive scoreless innings, Francisco Rodriguez imploded today blowing the save against the Cubs. K-Rod received the save opportunity because John Axford was unavailable and he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, only recording one out in the ninth before letting five consecutive batters reach base en route to three runs, his seventh loss and his seventh blown save of the season. It’s hard to say with any conviction who is in line to set up for the Brewers but with everyone around him imploding, John Axford is definitely the guy to own in Milwaukee.
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Using LOB-WAR for Fantasy Baseball

Yesterday, Fielding Dependent Pitching was release here at FanGraphs which is used to compare FIP-WAR and R/9-WAR. While WAR and its components sometimes have little affect on fantasy baseball, I have found the LOB-WAR to be useful for finding pitchers who may consistently have their ERA out perform their FIP value.

To get an idea of what traits these pitchers have in common, I looked at the top 10 pitchers (*) in LOB-Wins for 2012. Each of these pitchers had an ERA less than their FIP with the average difference being -0.70. Initial reaction may be that the pitchers crank it up a notch and get more strikeouts, which is not the case. Here are the average strikeout and walk numbers for the group.

Split K/9 BB/9 K/BB K% BB%
Bases Empty 7.4 2.0 3.9 19% 5%
Men on Base 5.9 2.9 2.2 17% 8%
Men In Scoring 6.4 3.8 1.9 18% 10%

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Who Replaces Kenley Jansen?

As the Dodgers head into the stretch run, 3.5 games back of the Giants, they’re a team with their fair share of problems, even after the shocking month of acquisitions that netted them Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Nick Punto, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Joe Blanton, Brandon League, & Randy Choate. In the rotation, Chad Billingsley & Ted Lilly have each been battling arm injuries which may put them out for the season. In the outfield, team MVP Matt Kemp banged up his knee and jaw running into the wall in Colorado, and even if he returns in the next few days, it’s not likely to be at full strength. And perhaps scariest of all, the status of fireballing closer Kenley Jansen is uncertain thanks to another recurrence of the irregular heartbeat that has already sidelined him twice over the last calendar year.

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Trevor Bauer Will Be Back

Roster expansion can lead to players getting more opportunities. In some cases, this means redemption for players who were up earlier in the year, and eventually sent to the minors. The Arizona Diamondbacks have announced that Trevor Bauer will get another chance to prove himself in the majors. And while the team won’t call him up immediately, he could still provide some value in the fantasy playoffs.

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