Archive for August, 2017

The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 492 – The Angels Are… Good?


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Leading Off: Question of the Day

Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play

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Pitcher Spotlight: Can We Trust The New Jakob Junis?

After spending the majority of the season struggling to get his footing as a rookie, Jakob Junis has started to blossom as a starter for the Royals, holding a marvelous 1.80 ERA, near 9.00 K/9, and 0.36 BB/9 across his last four starts. His latest was an impressive eight strikeout performance in 5.2 frames against the Rays, sparking many owners to get on board. But should we be trusting Junis to be productive during the final month of the season?

To answer that question, we should take note of Junis’ most dramatic change: he’s turned himself into a two-pitch pitcher by throwing his Slider 46.7% of the time in his last two starts. Chris Archer, Tyson Rossand Rich Hill have had success with a similar approach, and let’s scrutinize Junis’ two pitches to determine if he can do the same. Read the rest of this entry »

Suspect New Closers: Claudio, Minaya, Greene, & Belisle

My thoughts on four of the newest closers to be inserted into the role:

Alex Claudio

To start with, here’s a video of Claudio throwing.

A lefty sidearmer. I’m really surprised the Rangers rolled the dice with Claudio after their previous side-arming closer, Sam Dyson, couldn’t keep the job and was eventually released.

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Yelich Lowered His Launch Angle, And It’s a Good Thing

Giancarlo Stanton has gone crazy recently, hitting 32 home runs in 48 days. Last I checked, anyhow. It could be up to 36 by now, you never know with that guy. There have been many talks about his MVP consideration, as well there should be. However, Stanton is not the only guy in that Marlins lineup who is hitting the cover off the ball. Oh no, you have Christian Yelich raking behind Stanton, and then Ozuna behind Yelich.

In the second half, Yelich is batting .295/.387/.530 with a .389 wOBA. Marcell Ozuna is batting .292/.378/.522 with a .379 wOBA. Both of these players are sitting high among the second half offensive leaderboards, Yelich 25th and Ozuna 34th. Together with Stanton, the oft forgotten Derek Dietrich, and JT Realmuto the Marlins have 5 of the top 112 batters in the second half, including 3 of the top 34 and, of course, numero uno.

This is the offensive production the Marlins expected to see throughout the course of the entire season. Unfortunately for them, it took a few months for this to gel, in large part due to the relative poor performance of Christian Yelich in the first half.

I am not saying Yelich was terrible, because he wasn’t. He was average in April and May. But Yelich isn’t on the team to be average, he is a core piece, and his performance over the past month and a half shows just how dynamic he can be for a ball club. In April and May, though, he was not hitting nearly as well as he is right now. So let’s see if we can find a reason. Read the rest of this entry »

Wil Myers Remains Aggressive

Two weeks ago, Wil Myers stole three bases in a game against the Phillies. All three came in the fourth inning when he stole second, third, and home to single-handedly manufacture a run following his single. Since then, Myers has stolen two more bases to raise his August total to six. That isn’t Billy Hamilton or Byron Buxton territory, but it’s really useful in a player who also provides power.

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The Daily Grind: Everyday Hustling

Last night, I had a lineup score 47.3 points on DraftKings. Said lineup included a 36 point performance from Mike Trout. It’s difficult to intentionally select two pitchers and seven position players who score only 17.3 points.


  1. Hustle
  2. Weather Reports
  3. Pitchers to Use and Abuse
  4. SaberSim Says…
  5. TDG Invitational Returns!

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Bullpen Report: August 30, 2017

The three murkiest closer situations — the Angels, Cardinals and Rockies — had been in something of a stalemate heading into Wednesday. Finally, one of those bullpens broke through with some clearer roles. When Blake Parker nailed down a four-out save for the Angels against the A’s on Wednesday night, he took a big step towards establishing himself as the closer, as he has now been called upon for three consecutive save situations. Better yet, he converted all three and extended his no-hit streak to 7 1/3 innings and his scoreless streak to 10 innings.

Then again, just two weeks ago, I thought Cam Bedrosian had sewn up the job after he recorded three saves in a week, and then Mike Scioscia turned to Keynan Middleton and Bud Norris for the team’s next two save chances. Parker is having a brilliant season and will be a fine closer if he is, in fact, being given the chance to hold down the job full-time. I would still like to see him get the next save chance before upgrading the Angels from red to yellow in the closer grid.
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Pitcher Spotlight: August Gems in September

A quick look at some August standouts and how likely they are to be useful for the September stretch run:

Luke Weaver | Cardinals – 1.71 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 34% K, 27% K-BB in 21 IP

The 23-year old right’s emergence in August might’ve facilitated the trade of Mike Leake to Seattle on Wednesday. Weaver has fanned 10 in both of his last two starts thanks in large part to a 34% K rate with both his fastball and changeup. After 119.3 IP last year and 124.7 two years ago, he shouldn’t have issues making it to the finish line this year with 106.7 under his belt so far.

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Eugenio Suarez’s Absurd August

Life with the Cincinnati Reds isn’t always the easiest when you’re a standout player. Just ask Joey Votto, a player who doesn’t get anywhere near the credit he deserves for being perhaps the largest on-base threat over the last five or so years. Eugenio Suarez falls into a similar category as far as the element of neglect is concerned. Not only has his August been better than any other individual at the hot corner, but he’s spinning those numbers into another extremely effective campaign as a followup to what was already a career year in 2016.

The last 30 days have been particularly remarkable for Suarez. He leads the position in WAR over that time, but is also leading (or ranking near the top of the pack) in several other essential offensive categories. He’s third in batting average (.349) and reaching base at a .491 clip that’s easily the best among the 28 qualifying players over that span. He’s reaching base in almost half of his 110 plate appearances thus far in the past month. As such, there are some pretty interesting developments that have taken place that lend themselves to the current intrigue surrounding Suarez.

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Pitcher Spotlight: Why I Love Luis Castillo In Five At-Bats

This is going to start with some bad news. After Luis Castillo has been a fantasy MVP in many ways for giving your team a 3.26 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 6+ strikeouts per start, it’s expected that he will be shut down for the season after two more starts. Maybe three if we’re lucky.  But before his season comes to an early end I wanted to take a moment to appreciate just how Castillo is dominating lineups, and I’ll use the context of Saturday’s 7.0 IP, 3 Hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 Ks start against the Pirates. Let’s dissect five strikeouts from that outing that showcase just why I love Luis Castillo.

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