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THT's Fantasy Archives
Friday, June 19, 2009
When a 20-year-old rookie who hasn't previously pitched above Single-A is compared by his manager to Nolan Ryan, that's probably a good "sell" signal. To be sure, Jim Leyland was speaking heatedly on May 18 when he said of Rick Porcello, ""I'm not going to take him out of the rotation. He's (bleeping) Nolan Ryan right now." Still, Leyland was seeing what the world was seeing, which was a 20-year-old rookie pitcher with a 3.86 ERA and 4 Wins after seven starts.
Yesterday, Porcello won his eighth game, and his ERA now sits at 3.54. But let's see how Porcello's skills have held up since Leyland's remarks:
IP K/9 K/BB ERA ===== ==== ==== ==== MLB < 3/18 39.2 5.7 1.9 3.86 MLB > 3/18 34.0 4.2 1.6 3.18 =========== ===== ==== ==== ==== Single-A 125.0 5.2 2.2 2.66What we were seeing before May 18 was plausibly the best that could have been hoped for Porcello given the jump in level; even then, though, he was hardly mastering batters. Granted, Porcello has a high G/F (and it's actually higher in the later stretch—3.6 G/F, vs. 2.8 G/F beforehand). But you don't survive in the majors with a 4.2 K/9 and 1.6 K/BB.
According to Heater, Porcello has a LIPS ERA of 4.46, and a "True" ERA of 5.53. With a jump of two runs, his rank would fall from the 17th-best ERA in the AL to the 65th-best. That's territory for a seller to make a nice profit.
Posted by John Burnson at 3:53pm
The Padres have recalled top prospect 1B/OF Kyle Blanks (h/t Rotoworld). It would make little sense to recall a prospect of his caliber to sit him, so he makes a great pickup in NL-only leagues. He has very good power, a little speed, and could post a semi-respectable batting average, so he can also be picked up in deeper mixed leagues.
Posted by Derek Carty at 1:10pm
Ronny Cedeno | Seattle | SS/2B
True Talent: .252/.301/.375
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 HR, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, .251 BA, 0.3 SB
Looking as if he might be the next coming of Rich Aurilia—who struggled for years before emerging as an All-Star—Ronny Cedeno was given a full-time job by Dusty Baker in 2006, sinking 572 PA into an offensive black hole just as he'd done with Aurilia in SF. That he's now 26, has a career batting line of .244/.282/.343, and has been awful in 2009 would all be more damning if he hadn't clobbered AAA pitching when demoted in 2007. He has a chance to earn more PT in this awful middle infield if he hits while Lopez is on bereavement leave.
Jason Frasor | Toronto | RP
YTD: 7.2 K/9, 6.3 K/BB, 1.90 ERA
True Talent: 8.0 K/9, 2.4 K/BB, 3.39 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 1.5 Saves, 3.52 ERA
Listed at 5-9, Jason Frasor has probably earned significantly less money in his career than if the same 95+ heater and nasty slider came in a larger package. But hitters know about him (8+ career K/9), and his righty presence in the mostly-gauche Blue Jays pen is perfect in a complementary role. But Cito rewards good play, not size of pitcher or size of contract so Frasor should get the biggest share of the saves “pie,” at least until Downs' toe is healed. And we'd call him 1-in-3 to keep getting the most saves even after that.
Matt Harrison | Texas | SP
YTD: 4.8 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 5.43 ERA
True Talent: 6.0 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 6.04 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 10.1 IP, 0.5 Wins, 7 K, 5.76 ERA
“Pass.” We could save 74 words and leave it at that. But it's come to our attention that people are adding Matt Harrison in various formats. The promise of youth is great and all, but this guy pitches half his games in Texas, and two of the weakest-hitting teams in the AL both hit LHP pretty hard, so even road starts at KC and Seattle aren't gimme's. Grab a reliever instead for ratio help.
Luke Hochevar (reprise) | Kansas City | SP
YTD: 3.0 K/9, 0.9 K/BB, 5.60 ERA
True Talent: 5.2 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 4.96 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.3 Wins, 3 K, 4.60 ERA
Omaha (AAA) 2009 was the first time No. 1 overall pick Luke Hochvar really showed any of the promise people had seen before the draft. There, he was 5-1, 1.50, with a 36:12 K:BB ratio in 48 IP. If that helped Royals fans forget the 129 mediocre-to-bad innings in 2008, his first start (8 ER in 2.0 IP) against Oakland reminded them. The bad .753 RZR with just 81 OOZ plays by the KC infield makes it really hard on a guy with a 53% career GB% and very low K totals. So, outings like his most recent CG victory (1 ER) over the Reds will be uncommon. But there's enough here for an AL-only pickup; just don't go crazy.
David Huff | Cleveland | SP
YTD: 5.7 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 7.09 ERA
True Talent: 6.6 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 4.97 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 11.2 IP, 0.7 Wins, 9 K, 4.73 ERA
2006 first-round pick David Huff didn't enter the Indians rotation with the fanfare of some other top prospects this year, largely because his fastball tops out around 92. And while we disapprove of throwing out data, his ERA is 4.44 if you write off his first two starts as “debut jitters.” He's not ready to make anyone forget CC Sabathia, but if he's spotted intelligently, he should be good for some across-the-board help in AL-only leagues.
Jed Lowrie | Boston | SS/3B
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Jed Lowrie has some obstacles ahead before he becomes a viable fantasy alternative in any format, but his hand appears to be on the mend, and he'll soon be playing AAA ball again. He's not a better defender than Lugo, nor is he likely to out-hit the fluky stats Green has put up. But he's a switch-hitter, though he's only hit .210/.292/.323 vs. righties in his career. And his approach at the plate is more in line with the Red Sox organizational philosophy. He still appears to be the SS of the future in Boston, and now would be a good time to get him in a keeper league.
David Murphy | Texas | OF
True Talent: .266/.330/.418
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 HR, 2 Runs, 2 RBI, .266 BA, 0.3 SB
For his career, David Murphy is a .280 hitter with a .460 slugging. By reputation, he's a good fielder, and most advanced fielding stats indicate he's right around average in the side fields, though he did post an exceptional .978 RZR in 2008, with +11 plays being made, per the BIS +/- system. Still, he's played in a couple great hitter's parks, and his “True Talent” is that of a 4th OF. Expect him to hit like TT projects, and to get extra AB without Hamilton around, but the team has too many OF options for him to get much more PT.
Tomo Ohka | Cleveland | SP
YTD: 2.6 K/9, 2.5 K/BB, 4/24 ERA
True Talent: 4.3 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 5.24 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 5.0 IP, 0.3 Wins, 3 K, 4.99 ERA
Tomo Ohka has a career ERA of 4.14 and a FIP of 4.48 in over 1000 IP. He's just 33 this season, though it seems he's been around forever. Without any announced injuries, his velocity had dipped after the 2004 season, but it's back almost all the way to where it was (88.1 average FB, compared to just over 89 from 2002-2004). Modeling systems don't like him because he doesn't whiff batters or induce grounders, but he's death on the running game (35-33 career against him, outstanding for anyone, much less a RHP). It doesn't take much to be a top-five SP on the Indians, and the potential is here to get cheap help for an AL-only rotation.
Miguel Olivo | Kansas City | C
True Talent: ..248/.279/.425
Next Week Forecast: 0.9 HR, 2 Runs, 3 RBI, .254 BA, 0.3 SB
That Olivo has gotten 2373 PA in his career while carrying an OBP of .275 speaks volumes about the other parts of his game. He's not as fast as the seven SB in 317 PA in 2008 suggest, but otherwise, his stats have been remarkably consistent. And his defense is superb, so expect him to get about 2/3 of the playing time—unless Buck goes on a hot streak upon his return. Should be good for 10 more HR this year.
True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.
Posted by Rob McQuown at 2:00am
Colby Rasmus | St. Louis | OF
True Talent: .254/.329/.430
Next Week Forecast: 0.9 HR, 4 Runs, 3 RBI, .255 BA, 0.6 SB
Patient keeper league owners may still own Rasmus, but plenty of others bailed after he put up a .662 and .703 OPS in April and May. Now that he's hitting .396/.396/.708 in June, those patient owners are reaping the rewards. The 22-year-old Rasmus has been the Cardinals' top prospect since they drafted him, and he should continue to improve. Always a slow starter, he displays blossoming power (.485 minor league SLG, with 64 HRs and 95 2Bs) and moderate speed (74 SB). He's still working on his plate selectivity (0.57 BB/K in minors, 0.32 in 2009), and True Talent doesn't think he's going to consolidate those gains this year. But that HR-SB potential makes him worth a pickup in NL leagues deeper than 10 teams, and mixed leagues deeper than 13 teams, along with any size keeper leagues.
Kevin Kouzmanoff | San Diego | 3B
True Talent: .259/.307/.427
Next Week Forecast: 0.9 HR, 3 Runs, 4 RBI, .260 BA, 0.1 SB
The time when Kouzmanoff was highly touted has come and gone—a 0.24 BB/K will do that, especially matched with a SLG that cracked .450 just once. But Kouz has occasional surges, like the 35-game streak last season when he collected a hit in 29 games, putting up a .326/.342/.558 line. In that time, he also notched 31 Ks against just 3 BBs, so he didn't change his hack-and-slash ways. It's tough to succeed with that approach while hitting in PETCO behind Adrian Gonzalez, who often clears the bases for him. Kouz looks like he's heating up now, and True Talent shows that he'll improve, so ride him while you can, but watch for that dropoff. Nobody outside of 14-team NL leagues and mixed leagues deeper than 18 teams should think of him as a permanent addition.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. | San Diego | OF
True Talent: .270/.338/.363
Next Week Forecast: 0.1 HR, 3 Runs, 1 RBI, .272 BA, 0.7 SB
A trade to the Padres gave the son of San Diego's all-time best hitter a chance to be a starter. What Junior lacks in hitting ability, he makes up for with speed, but it's not enough to make him as valuable as Dear Old Dad. True Talent shows you his BA is hollow, with a bit of patience (0.70 BB/K in the minors) and plenty of SB potential (152 in six minor-league seasons). Hitting atop a weak Padres lineup depresses his run totals, and he's got to reach base more often than True Talent predicts to be an effective leadoff hitter. He represents a good source of steals for leagues of all size, and he won't kill your BA, but he will sap your power ratios, and he won't keep hitting like this.
Ryan Church | New York | OF
True Talent: .267/.344/.424
Next Week Forecast: 0.8 HR, 4 Runs, 4 RBI, .265 BA, 0.3 SB
Which Church is for real? The one who put up an OPS in the high 800s for Washington and New York, or the one who hit .224 in May? Likely, it's neither, but the guy in the middle isn't too shabby, either. True Talent is pessimistic, but Jerry Manuel isn't, making Church his starting RF. Church has responded with a .281/.378/.500 June, and he's shown the ability to maintain those streaks despite a career BB/K of 0.42. Don't be surprised to see him sit against LHP now and then—his career OPS is 122 points lower against them, a split that's widened to a whopping 307 in 2009—but he's worth a flier in 12-team NL leagues and mixed leagues deeper than 16 to see if those 800+ OPS numbers are for real.
Kevin Correia | San Diego | SP
YTD: 6.6 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 4.52 ERA
True Talent: 6.4 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 4.76 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 5.2 IP, 0.3 Wins, 4 K, 4.95 ERA
The Padres have won just four of their last 15, but Correia has two of those wins, so he has to be doing something right. He gave up just five ER in his last three starts, with 13 Ks and one BB, and his only loss came when King Felix pitched a CG shutout. PETCO hasn't helped him as much as you expect—his longball rate at home (1.2 HR/9) is slightly worse than on the road (1.0), but all of those PETCO homers were solo jobs. Whether that's by accident or design, it shows the fine line he walks between dominance and disaster; his True Talent numbers are all just on the sunny side of average. Expect that from Correia: decent but unspectacular numbers, with occasional blowups that may hurt you. Play with fire if you want in leagues deeper than 16-team mixed or 14-team NL, but remember that he's pitching for the punchless Pads.
Aaron Cook | Colorado | SP
YTD: 4.6 K/9, 1.5 K/BB, 4.23 ERA
True Talent: 4.3 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 4.41 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 12.1 IP, 0.7 Wins, 6 K, 4.34 ERA
Cook was an All-Star last year, so how can he be hanging out on the waiver wire in 2009? He started the year with a 1-4 record and a 7.11 ERA, and so far he's doubled his home run rate to 1.2 HR/9 and increased his walk rate by 50% to 3.0 BB/9. He's turned that around, going 3-1 in his last three starts, with a 3.00 ERA and a 4.0 K/BB, but don't let the Ks fool you. Cook's a groundballer (57.8 GB% in 2009), not a strikeout artist, and his control is about as good as it's going to get. If you believe the Rockies are for real, Cook's going to collect more Ws going forward, so he's worth a pickup on that basis for 12-team NL leagues and mixed leagues of 14 teams or deeper. Just expect low K totals and an ERA around 4 to come with him.
Andrew Miller | Florida | SP
YTD: 7.5 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 4.56 ERA
True Talent: 7.7 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 4.44 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 11.2 IP, 0.7 Wins, 10 K, 4.69 ERA
Another young lefty from Florida, Miller's got a great fastball and a nice slider—and not much else. That's why he's got those sweet K numbers without a great ERA, and his control numbers show he's having trouble even with just those two pitches. True Talent tells you he's going to get better, but he won't get much better. There's always the chance that someone with a mid-90s heater will really bust out, and he's trying to develop a changeup and increase his GB% (down to 45.9 in 2008 after 49.3 in 2007), both of which will help him develop another dimension. For now, though, those Ks come at too heavy a price to consider Miller in mixed leagues shallower than 15 teams, or NL leagues shallower than 12 teams.
Jason Hammel | Colorado | SP
YTD: 6.4 K/9, 2.8 K/BB, 4.10 ERA
True Talent: 6.2 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 4.64 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.4 Wins, 4 K, 4.54 ERA
You might think that Hammel is just a product of Colorado's recent hot streak. Think again—he's won four of his last five with a K/BB ratio of 3.67 and a very nice 0.64 HR/9. That's key for a Rockies' pitcher, of course, and it's no coincidence that three of those four wins came on the road. At home, he's offering up gopher balls at a rate of 1.9 HR/9, compared to just 0.3 on the road. For his career, he surrenders them at a 1.3 rate, and those numbers came with Tampa Bay, also a tough home park for pitchers. So his relatively strong peripherals come with that huge asterisk. He remains a safe start on the road, but needs to ride your pine at home. If you can use him that way, he's worth a pickup in any mixed league deeper than 12 teams or 8-team NL leagues.
Jeremy Affeldt | San Francisco | RP
YTD: 7.9 K/9, 1.6 K/BB, 1.71 ERA
True Talent: 7.7 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 3.16 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.0 Saves, 3.15 ERA
If your league counts holds, you already know about Affeldt, who leads MLB in that category. But even if your league doesn't, Affeldt still holds some value. While his ERA exceeds True Talent predictions, his peripherals are more comparable, and Affeldt's always had strong career peripherals (6.9 K/BB, 1.71 K/BB, 0.8 HR/9). He's also first in line if Brian Wilson falters or gets hurt. Wilson's solid and is in no danger of losing his job, but Affeldt is an excellent insurance policy for Wilson owners, and is a very good addition to keep your K numbers strong, especially if those control numbers improve. He won't hurt any roster but is best suited to fill out pitching staffs in 10+ team NL leagues or mixed leagues deeper than 14 teams.
True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.
Posted by Michael Street at 2:00am
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