Author Archive

Is J.J. Hoover The Favorite For Cincinnati Saves?

I have to be honest: talking about the fantasy baseball impact of the Salvador Perez line drive that hit Aroldis Chapman in the face, requiring surgery to insert a metal plate above his left eyebrow, seems like nothing less than the least important thing in the world. As if we haven’t seen this enough in recent years, from J.A. Happ to Alex Cobb to Brandon McCarthy, the added sight of Chapman’s father sprinting to the mound and the game simply being called off added an extra element of terror.

Fortunately, however, Chapman is being referred to as “a very lucky guy,” talking and joking in the hospital, and is expected to be okay, or as okay as one can be after such an experience. So since the march towards the season continues, and the Reds will need to do without their elite closer for most of the next two months, we may as well talk about what they’re going to do about it. Chapman is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks, and then with some expected rehab time after that, we’re probably looking at a return near late May or early June. But even then, being physically healthy isn’t the entire story; Chapman will need to be mentally ready to get back in the path of liners too. Maybe that happens right away, but maybe it doesn’t.

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Looking For Value In The Mets Rotation

Without Mat– okay, I won’t even say it. Without their ace and one of the best pitchers in the game, the 2014 Mets rotation takes on a decidedly different look, one led by…

The big four

Bartolo Colon

Colon was a pretty fun fantasy option when you could get him for a buck or two, which you almost certainly could since he was lousy in 2009, out of baseball entirely in 2010, and looking like this in 2011. (You’re staring at that picture. You’re wondering if it’s fake. I’m not going to spoil it.) Then he had to go and win 28 games in two years for Oakland, and put up a 2.65 ERA last year, and you’re left with the reality that he’s clearly going to cost more than a buck this year, but he’s still 41 years old and hasn’t had a swinging-strike percentage of even seven percent since 2005. He’s obviously clearly rosterable, but at what price?

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Plenty Of New Faces In Detroit Bullpen

You may remember last year’s Detroit bullpen as being something of a mess, especially once Bruce Rondon proved that he was not going to be able to grab the closer’s job right out of camp as the Tigers as hoped. They tried to bring back Jose Valverde, with disastrous results, Phil Coke got a brief shot, and they picked up Jose Veras for depth, but the majority of saves ended up going to Joaquin Benoit, who proved effective in the role after being bumped up from his setup man spot.

Now, Benoit is off to San Diego. Veras is with the Cubs. Valverde is trying to make the Mets. Drew Smyly is in the rotation, replacing Doug Fister. Darin Downs is in Houston. Of the five most-used Tiger relievers in 2013, three are no longer in the Detroit bullpen, replaced by several new names. It’s a bullpen in transition. Let’s get to it. Read the rest of this entry »

Orioles Outfield: At Least There’s Adam Jones

Before we get to the desolate corner spots in the Baltimore outfield, let’s at least focus on Adam Jones and the value he brings to fantasy baseball. He hits in the .280s, he puts up between 25-33 homers, he steals 12-16 bases, and he scores 100 runs. Last year, he even drove in 108. That’s an extremely valuable player who can help you in every category, especially since he’s done it for a few years in a row now. No one’s suggesting he’s the fantasy equivalent of Mike Trout or even a first-round pick, because he’s not, but that kind of production puts him squarely in the discussion for a top-10 or -15 outfielder. Still on the right side of 30, Jones remains a valuable fantasy asset for 2014.

But of course, any discussion about how well Jones has performed has to come hand-in-hand with the absolutely terrifying prospect of how long he can continue with a walk rate that is only slightly higher than yours or mine. Back in November, Eno Sarris looked at Jones’ comparables as far as similar walk, strikeout, and power rates: Read the rest of this entry »

The Island Of Misfit Mets Relievers

Over at our depth charts, we have 13 different relievers listed for the Mets. 13! And that doesn’t even include Kyle Farnsworth, but it does include Jose Valverde and Erik Goeddel and Steven Matz and Jeff Walters, and it’s okay if you want to admit now that you’ve never heard of two of those names. It’s not pretty, but for a Mets team that probably isn’t going to be contending for anything seriously in 2014, it makes sense. Throwing money at relievers at this point in the team’s development is often money wasted, and so Sandy Alderson and friends will instead try to go with what they’ve got.

But from a fantasy perspective, that makes it difficult. It’s hard to know for sure who is even going to be in this bullpen, much less contributing — I imagine it’ll be something of a revolving door all season long — and that limits fantasy utility. Still, someone has to get saves, and we can start with the likely closer and go from there.

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A Transitional Time In Twins Outfield

I would love to spend the next few hundred words or so of this article talking about the impending arrival of Byron Buxton, the near-consensus No. 1 overall prospect in the game, who promises to immediately change the face of the Minnesota outfield and the lineup as a whole.

Unfortunately, Buxton’s ETA is more likely 2015 — potentially late 2014 — so we’re stuck talking about the guys who are actually going to get the bulk of the playing time this year, and it may not be pretty. Eyeballing our depth charts, Minnesota is the only team who isn’t projected to get even 2 WAR from a single one of their outfield spots; If you want to split hairs and say that 1.9 WAR and 2 WAR are basically the same thing, you wouldn’t be wrong, but you also wouldn’t really be changing the point. Minnesota’s outfield tied with Houston for last in both wRC+ and wOBA last year, and they return largely the same group, so no, this may not be pretty. Read the rest of this entry »

Plenty To Be Interested In On The Oakland Infield

There’s a lot of moving parts in the Oakland infield, and I suppose that’s what makes them fun. Let’s go around the horn….

C: Derek Norris, Stephen Vogt, and, for our purposes, John Jaso

This is fantasy, so you can stop thinking about Vogt right now. He’s not likely to get a lot of playing time, he’s 29 without much of a career behind him or projection in front of him, and he’s best known — if he’s known at all — for going approximately a million plate appearances without a hit to start his career. Read the rest of this entry »

So Many Moving Parts In The Colorado Outfield

Last year, the Rockies had three primary outfielders — Carlos Gonzalez in left, Dexter Fowler in center, and Michael Cuddyer in right — who started at least 99 games, with Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson the primary backups during Gonzalez’ absences and Cuddyer’s occasional trips to first base.

Now? Now, Fowler’s in Houston. Brandon Barnes and Drew Stubbs are in Colorado. Gonzalez is a center fielder. Cuddyer was originally slated to move full-time to first base after Todd Helton retired, but then Justin Morneau arrived, and now Cuddyer may or may not be his platoon partner. And between Blackmon, Dickerson, and Charlie Culberson, they still have three guys with extremely similar names who I just absolutely can’t ever tell apart.

So let’s start with what we know:  Read the rest of this entry »

Addison Reed Is Valuable Because He’s a Closer

Addison Reed is fascinating, I think. He’s seen as a star closer because he came up as a rookie in 2012 and saved 29 games, then 40 more in 2013, despite playing for a Chicago team that seemed like it had a lead to hang onto about once a week. Those 69 saves are good for the ninth-most in history through a player’s age-24 season, which is both impressive and terrifying — while Craig Kimbrel is on that list, so are flameouts like Gregg Olson and Chad Cordero.

Since fantasy baseball isn’t real baseball, it’s often a simple equation of {if (saves=yes) then (pitcher=draft-him)}. Reed gets saves, so you draft him, and that’s why he’s #12 on our closer rankings. But there’s a reason he’s not in the top 10, and it’s certainly not because he has a problem missing bats, not when he’s whiffed 138 in 133.2 major league innings. It’s because for all the things Reed does very well, he hasn’t always done a particularly great job of simply preventing runs from scoring. Read the rest of this entry »

Won’t Someone Give Matt Garza A Home?

Matt Garza is easily one of the most difficult pitchers in fantasy to project right now, I think. Where to start? It doesn’t help that we have no idea where he’ll be calling home in 2014, and in the world of fantasy, which uses raw and rarely-if-ever park-adjusted stats, it’s a huge difference in how we value him depending on if he’s say, a Rockie as a opposed to a Padre. (Not that I think he’ll be either, of course. Put on the spot, I’d say he ends up as an Angel if they miss out on Masahiro Tanaka.)

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