Archive for September, 2012

Bullpen Report: September 30, 2012

• Well, it looks like Tyler Clippard’s run as Nationals closer has hit the skids just before the end of the regular season. Yesterday, it was Drew Storen who was called upon in the ninth. Of course, Storen blew the save by serving up a couple hits and a sacrifice fly, but the key fact was that Clippard was deliberately used in his old eighth inning role. I covered Storen’s positive trends last week (velocity up to pre-injury levels, great K/BB ratio) so I won’t rehash here. Clippard has struggled significantly over the last month or so and while his 4.13 xFIP isn’t terrible, it isn’t elite either. Given Washington’s hesitance to move him from setup into the ninth inning earlier this season, it seems more than plausible that the new pecking order has Storen locked into the closer role, especially with the team about to embark on their first playoff run in D.C.

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Potential NL SP Strikeout Rate Surgers

On Wednesday, I compared American League starting pitchers’ strikeout rates and SwStk% marks to determine who may be in line for a K/9 surge next season. Today I perform the same exercise, but for the National Leaguers. As expected, the league average is slightly better, as starters have averaged a 7.3 K/9 and 8.6% SwStk%.

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Bullpen Report: September 29, 2012

• After splitting save chances with Jared Burton for a month or so, Glen Perkins has quietly taken over the ninth inning all to himself in the second half of the season. He finished off save number 16 on Friday, throwing a 1-2-3 inning as the Twins upset the Tigers. Perkins has been as steady as relievers come this year, not flashing elite numbers, but putting up monthly xFIPs between 3.02 (April) and 3.67 (July). While his K% has dropped from the high-20% area to the mid-20% realm (possible a result of a slight downtick in fastball velocity), his BB% has plunged from near 10% before the all-star break to a shockingly low 2.5% after. The move the Twins made to buy out a few years of Perkins post-arbitration free agency is looking especially shrewd and he seems to be a near-mortal lock to be the team’s closer come April 2013. He’s only owned in 36% of Yahoo! leagues so run and grab the stat geek if you need saves — keeper league owners would be wise to stash/hold him– a guy with a guaranteed closer job and a plummeting walk rate should sneak into the back end of the top 15 closers on draft boards next year.

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Eno Sarris Baseball Chat — 9/28/12

Streaming Weekend Starters: Johnson and Straily

Looking at what’s available this weekend, perhaps it should be titled “steaming” weekend starters because there’s slim pick’ens to be had.  Still, there are some interesting options for you should you be in panic mode for wins and strikeouts, a mode in which the author of this post resides in at least two leagues. So let’s get to it.

Steve Johnson

Yes, Steve Johnson. Johnson, who slogged through the minors for the past eight years, seemed to finally put it together in AAA in 2012 with a 2.86 ERA and a 8.5 K/9. He gave up just 66 hits over 91 innings pitched at AAA, striking out 86 batters. He was called up to Baltimore mostly to serve as a reliever where he’s been quite effective — throwing 16 innings, giving up just 7 hits and striking out 21 batters. But he’s also been used as a spot starter, making three starts and he’s been equally good. In those starts, he’s thrown 17 innings, given up 12 hits (10 singles), and struck out 22. His main bugaboo (oh, Mom I blame you for that word) is the free pass as he’s walked 15 batters over his 33.1 innings pitched and he’s had a history of control issues throughout the minors.

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Roto Riteup: September 28, 2012

Today’s Roto Riteup is being unofficially sponsored by the Magic Hat IPA that I’m currently enjoying.

• As far as injury concerns go, Chris Iannetta was pulled from yesterday’s game in the eighth inning due to leg cramps. Since the first of September, Iannetta has started 23 games — all of which have been at catcher. The Angels travel to Texas to play the Rangers today and of course don’t have a scheduled off day until a potential play off situation. I expect the Angels to announce that Iannetta will receive at least one day off. He isn’t owned in a ton of leagues however, so you should be able to proceed as per usual when setting your roster.
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Bullpen Report: September 27, 2012

• Things were going well in the last month for John Axford, who had saved 15 consecutive games dating back to August 21st, until tonight when Todd Frazier smacked a two-out homerun in the bottom of the ninth to bring the Reds even at 1-1 with the Brewers. Frazier’s long ball was the beginning of the end for Axford and the Crew on Thursday — a subsequent Jay Bruce single and a Dioner Navarro triple resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Reds. The Brewers walked off the field with their heads down knowing their playoff chances may have snuck past them tonight, and no one feels worse than the Brewers’ closer. Axford has now blown nine of his 42 save chances on the year to go with a 4.88 ERA (1.46 WHIP).
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Edwin Jackson and Brandon McCarthy: Pitchers to Watch

The offseason is nearly upon us. And for those of you not fighting it out in the championship, it’s important to be aware of some of the offseason’s important story lines. Obviously, everyone will pay attention to the major signings. By the time FanGraphs+ comes out, you’ll all already be aware of Josh Hamilton’s new home, or whether Zack Greinke will remain in LA. While second-tier signings can sometimes to easy to forget, they can also lead to significant value in fantasy leagues. The free-agent pitching market isn’t necessarily filled with superstars. There are many players that have experienced success throughout their careers, but come with question marks. Still, if these players end up in the right situations, they could have big time value for your fantasy team.

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2012 Fantasy Zombie Award, Pitcher Edition

There were certainly some compelling candidates for the 2012 Fantasy Zombie in the hitters division, but after the top choices, the field wasn’t actually all that deep. Plenty of hitters surged to great seasons, but of those that did, very few were coming back from either bad injuries or the true pits of previous poor performance. There is no such problem with the pitchers.

More of these candidates are coming back from major injuries than are simply rounding back into form after a trip to the abyss, which makes sense given that it’s easier for an injury to cost a pitcher a full season than it is for a hitter to miss the whole year. Four of the five have had Tommy John surgery at some point in their career, and three earned their spot on this list with their performance following that procedure. Jake Peavy, the only one of the four not to have his UCL replaced, could have been on this list last year as well, since he was working his way back from a detached lat, which remains one of the most painful injuries I’ve ever encountered.

Irrespective of what put them under the knife, here are five strong contenders for the pitching edition of Fantasy Zombie 2012, but there are surely others who deserve a nod and a handshake. As before, if there’s someone you feel I’ve missed, leave it in the comments! Read the rest of this entry »

Grabbing Justin Smoak and Nate McLouth?

It’s been a pretty odd season for both Nate McLouth and Justin Smoak, but they have both made themselves roto relevant during the season’s final few weeks. They have hit four and five home runs respectively, and could provide a nice boost to your lineup if you need a player for the season’s final six games.
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