Archive for December, 2013

C.J. Wilson Rebounds

C.J. Wilson put together an altogether terrific 2011 season, even garnering a good deal of votes for the Cy Young award that year. He posted a 2.94 ERA with 16 wins and a 23% strikeout rate for the Texas Rangers. After signing a lucrative deal with the Anaheim Angels the following year, his performance was a little disappointing. His control suffered, with his walk rate ballooning to 10.5% and his ERA rose to 3.83 (4.04 FIP) with a 1.34 WHIP. He went from a solid #2 to about a $5-$6 dollar player, getting selected around 125-130 overall.

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I’ve Made a Hughes Mistake

Writer’s Note: Hughes ranked 132nd on Zach Sanders’ starting pitching rankings.

It might shock a few people to find out that if not for Ricky Nolasco’s pact, Phil Hughes’ three-year, $24 million deal would be the biggest free agent contract handed out in Twins history.

In fact, I’d almost wager that the statement would induce spit-takes from any Yankees fan with a beverage in hand. Really? For Hughes?

The same Hughes who had an ERA over 5.00 last year? The one who allowed 1.5-plus home runs per 9 over the past two? The guy whose career ERA (4.54) isn’t really that much better than either of his FIPs (4.31, both), leaving one to wonder if his ceiling simply isn’t that high? Read the rest of this entry »

Shelby Miller And Getting It Together

It’s almost as if at some point in 2012, someone attended one of Shelby Miller’s Triple-A outings and yelled, “Hey Shelby, get it together!”

Well, Miller has gotten it together, following up on an excellent 13.2-inning debut in 2012 with 31 starts, 173.1 innings and a 3.06 ERA in 2013. He finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting and 21st in starting pitcher fantasy value, and only an embarrassment of pitching riches precluded the St. Louis Cardinals from using him in the playoffs.
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Alex Wood Looks Good

You may or may not know this, but I’m a Braves fan. However, I’m no prospect guru and am typically very unfamiliar with every club’s farm system. Unless a player is a top prospect heavily hyped everywhere, I probably never heard of him. So it should be no surprise to learn that when Alex Wood made his debut in Atlanta, I had no idea who he was. But now I do. And I’m excited.

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What Does Jose Quintana Do?

Take a look at Jose Quintana’s collection of pitches, and there’s not much there to appreciate. Kind of makes you wonder how he does what he does, even if that creep can roll. His ERA is in the top 40 over the last two years, and yet none of his three most important peripheral stats rank in the top 40… how has he become more than the sum of his parts?

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Chris Bassitt: Deconstructing A Sleeper Pitching Prospect

Everybody loves a sleeper–a player who seems primed to break out but who few pay attention to. Predicting a prospect breakout a) is fun and b) gives an evaluator some credibility, and in fantasy baseball, grabbing a player on the cheap and watching him soar to usefulness is a great way to find success.

While the White Sox minor league system has not been considered anywhere near an elite group in the past several years, they have managed to accumulate a number of sleeper successes. Until 2013, this allowed the major league team to stay competitive, supplementing a veteran core with solid performances from unheralded sources. While the team struggled in 2013, the trend continued, with Marcus Semien, Erik Johnson, and Daniel Webb all upping their stock considerably throughout the 2013 season and reaching the majors despite opening the year with no upper-minors experience.

In a system with little other places to look for positive thoughts other than the next wave of potential sleepers, one player who many analysts point to as a sleeper to watch is righthanded pitcher Chris Bassitt. Our own Marc Hulet ranked the lanky hurler as the organization’s eleventh-best prospect. But how good might Bassitt become?

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MASH Report (12/30/13)

It is that time of year when players state they are in the best shape of their lives. I am going to try not to publish any best shape  information unless news exists on the player’s actual progress.

Matt Kemp (foot and shoulder injuries) had his walking boot removed recently. Currently, he doesn’t look to be 100% by spring training, but ready for the season’s start.

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Looking Back at 2013

I spend a lot of time analyzing baseball, but sometimes you need to take a step back and analyze yourself. With New Year’s Eve coming up fast, now is just one of those times.

Between January 1, 2013 and the end of the regular season, I offered a lot of advice in my articles here on RotoGraphs, and thought I’d take a look back at each measurable piece of advice and grade myself.

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Chris Sale Keeps on Sailing

One of the things I find amusing about playing fantasy baseball is that I regularly flip-flop on my assessment of players. One year I will hype a player and believe him to be undervalued, then the following year I will switch gears and suggest that same player won’t be worth his price. This is precisely what happened with Chris Sale. In 2012, he transitioned into the White Sox rotation and I was the head cheerleader. I liked him so much in fact that I boldly predicted that he would not only be the most valuable White Sox starting pitcher, but that he would also outearn every member of the Diamondbacks rotation. He did just that. But then the 2013 season came along and I was singing a different tune.

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Dillon Gee Has a Confusing Season

We statheads like when we can put things into tidy boxes. Pitcher X posts Y peripherals for expected result of Z. Buy or don’t buy accordingly. But not every pitcher is polite enough to reveal his true nature to us. That doesn’t mean we can’t leverage him for fantasy purposes; it just means that it’s hard to know how to leverage him.

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