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THT's Fantasy Archives
Friday, April 05, 2013
The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice for tinkers and daily fantasy players. I welcome advice to help make this column more effective, including notice of impending weather events, new injuries, and changes to platoon situations. Ownership rates are from Yahoo!
The Fanduel picks are a mixture of Daily League specific advice and information for the more typical fantasy owner. Use the team-by-team TDG eligible players spreadsheet for more detailed information.
The Fanduel Daily League Players of the Day are:
Pitcher (to start): I thought about giving Zach McAllister a shot, but none of my teams have an opening for streaming yet.
Dan Straily is a solid choice, though like all guys on the waiver wire, he's not without risk. For those in even deeper leagues, Brad Peacock has some upside.
Pitcher (bum): A warm, spring day game at Coors is an invitation to score runs in bunches. And when the starting pitchers are Jeff Francis and Jason Marquis...well you know where I'm going with this.
Apparently my fantasy writing doppleganger likes Liam Hendriks, but I still think he's exploitable for fantasy purposes. So I'm putting money on Chris Davis extending his streak of dominance.
I believe that Kyle Kendrick and Wade Davis mark the first time in 2013 where converted relievers have faced each other. They've both seen success as starters in the past, but they also have exploitable flaws, especially Kendrick (left-handers).
Hitter (power): Seth Smith against Peacock is a decent streaming option. But I'm more excited about Juan Francisco's 70 grade raw power against Scott Feldman.
Meanwhile, I noted yesterday that Matt Joyce should enjoy batting against Kendrick, but he should also enjoy his actual match-up today—McAllister.
Hitter (speed): At some point, Domonic Brown is going to attempt a couple steals. Why not today?
Chris Denorfia and Craig Gentry are more classic choices to swipe a bag.
Pitcher (to start): Trevor Bauer is interesting and prospect-y, although I don't necessarily expect good things tomorrow. If you want to own him, this might be your one shot.
Patrick Corbin is a guy I own outright in one of my mid-depth leagues. So, it suffices to say that I think highly of him. However, a match-up against the Brewers is a tough assignment for the lefty.
I think Chris Tillman can make it through the Twins lineup a couple times without going belly up, don't you?
Pitcher (bum): I generally like tomorrow's pitchers, but I'm definitely selling short on Tommy Hanson.
Jon Garland in Colorado has no chance of working out. Right?
Hitter (power): I'm going to give Adam Lind a few more shots here. I suspect the Blue Jays are thinking much the same thing. Theoretically, he should match-up well against supposedly improved John Lackey.
If I have any understanding of biology, then I am right to think that the love child of Lucas Duda and Ricky Nolasco would be a home run.
It's Jonny Gomes time. J.A. Happ is the perfect match-up for him.
Hitter (speed): Collin Cowgill may swipe a base. Have I mentioned he's a grinder. We like grinders here at The Daily Grind.
Will Venable should be back in the lineup for that tasty Garland match-up
Noteworthy NewsJust when you thought Brian Roberts might play 15 games in a row, he went down with an injury. I was starting to think he might be relevant to this column, but no dice K.
Weather watchThe Yankees, Tigers, Mariners, and White Sox draw the cold weather today.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 5:42am
For one brief moment this week, the Astros were better than the Rangers, Justin Maxwell was the early leader in the American League MVP race, and Bo Porter was the early favorite for Manager of the Year. Up was down, down was up, cats were dogs, dogs were cats.
Then Yu Darvish struck out 200 Astros (approximately, I stopped watching after five innings, like an idiot), came within an out of a perfect game (so I'm told), and order was restored to the universe.
Early season baseball is filled with stories like these every year. It's part of what makes the games fun, and part of what makes the waiver wire in the early going a vast wilderness for me to hyperbolize.
Last week we touched on three recently named starting pitchers. This week? Three sort-of big name American League middle infielders who are widely available.
Stephen Drew | Red Sox | SS | ESPN: 1.6 percent ownership | Yahoo!: 9 percent | CBS: 33 percent
Oliver ROS: .243/.320/.381 in 467 plate appearances
We'll start with the bad. Injuries have limited Drew greatly over the past two seasons, with the shortstop playing just 86 games in 2011 and 79 in 2012. His numbers during that time were not very good, and there's no way around that (wOBAs of .315 and .291, respectively). He's also getting a late start to this season, his Age 30 campaign, because of lingering concussion symptoms (an injury for which forecasting recovery time is virtually impossible). This is why owners passed on Drew during drafts this spring, and this is why his ownership levels are so low for a (somewhat) big name player, who should still be in his prime.
The news that Drew went on a rehab assignment Thursday and could be back in Boston by Monday presents owners with a chance to take advantage of a market inefficiency. When Drew is healthy he's a useful player. From 2008-2010, playing in 152, 135 and 151 games, Drew posted wOBAs of .355, .321, and .355. He's provided solid pop, especially at a thin position, and can provide a nice boost in leagues that reward walks (posting rates between 8.2 percent and 11.3 since 2009).
As Marc Normandin pointed out in December, Drew probably will not pepper the Green Monster, given his career pull/center field/opposite field ISO splits of .303/.185/.099, but there is reason to believe his bat can play in Fenway Park. And while the Red Sox lineup is not quite the modern day Murderer's Row it once was, a healthy Drew could rack up RBI and runs at a healthy pace.
Of course all of this depends on whether or not Drew is healthy, and only time will be able to tell that.
Recommendation: He's worth adding now in AL only leagues and deeper mixed leagues that use multiple shortstops or middle infielders. Shallower mixed league owners can take a wait-and-see approach to feel out Drew's health, how much his skill has diminished over the past two years, and what effect Fenway Park will have.
Yunel Escobar | Rays | SS | ESPN: 4.7 percent ownership | Yahoo!: 11 percent | CBS: 39 percent
YTD: .125/.125/.250 in two games
Oliver ROS: .261/.327.351
If injuries are the reason Drew is undervalued right now, the same cannot be said for Yunel Escobar, who basically ran himself out of Toronto last season, after basically running himself out of Atlanta before that. So who stepped up and saw value there? Why, the Rays, of course!
Always searching for any edge, Tampa Bay acquired him from Toronto over the winter for
There's considerable upside here, including help in average, on-base, and possibly HRs (at least relative to the shortstop field). With that, of course, comes considerable risk.
Recommendation: Worth a gamble if you have a need. As long as expectations aren't sky high, he could provide some valuable depth at a position that sorely lacks it.
Gordon Beckham | White Sox | SS | ESPN: 9.1 percent ownership | Yahoo!: 7 percent | CBS: 37 percent
YTD: .200/.333/.200 in two games
Oliver ROS: .247/.312/.376
Full disclosure: Beckham is on this list mostly because he was on my dynasty team after the White Sox made him the eighth overall selection in the 2008 draft. I had him for all of his enticing 2009 rookie season, when he triple slashed .270/.347/.460 in 103 games. His WAR in those 103 games was 2.5, and unbelievably bright things seemed to be on the horizon.
This did not turn out to be the case. His combined WAR in the three years since is a meager 1.9. His batting numbers seem to have bottomed out with remarkably similar 2011 and 2012 lines of .230/.296/.337 and .234/.296/.371.
There's a hint of hope in those 2012 figures, with a 34 point increase in slugging percentage due to a 30 point jump in ISO. He also managed to carve 4.6 percent off his strikeout rate and had a seemingly unlucky BABIP of .254. He's still just 26, and there's talk this spring (again) about a change in batting stance that might help him be more useful.
I'll need to see it to believe it, though.
Recommendation: Beckham provides value in the sense that he's generally healthy, and will get enough playing time to post decent counting statistics. He's real life bad, but fantasy useful in a pinch. Expecting him to be the player he teased us with in 2009 seems increasingly unrealistic, so picking him up hoping for a breakout is something to avoid until he shows something to make those batting stance stories seem believable. Until then he's a capable, if unsexy, injury fill-in.
Popsicle Stick Joke of the Day:
Question: Why did the cookie go to the doctor?
Answer: He was feeling crummy.
Posted by Jack Weiland at 2:48am
One of the bonuses of keeping a season-long log of fantasy dumpster diving is the ability to look back on past picks, the players who made good and the projections that were way off. So with an acknowledgment to hindsight’s cruel eye, we’ll check in each week with some of our past guests to see how they’re doing.
Patrick Corbin, perhaps not surprisingly, locked down the D-backs final rotation spot, though we’ll have a better look at his mixed-league upside on Saturday when he makes his first start of the season against Milwaukee. Hyun-Jin Ryu sure looks secure in the Dodgers’ rotation after a strong performance on Tuesday, Jordany Valdespin was relegated to bench duty despite my expectations for a platoon with Collin Cowgill, and Mitchell Boggs, having blown Wednesday’s save, has yet to establish himself as a must-add in Jason Motte’s absence.
Collin Cowgill | New York Mets | OF | 13 percent Yahoo ownership; 13.4 percent ESPN ownership; 25 percent CBS ownership
Oliver ROS: .247 / .305 / .366
It shouldn’t be too hard to resist the temptation of writing about the Mets’ shallow pool of intriguing sleepers, but as a fan, I did want to look at Cowgill, who became a hot pickup after he fought off Valdespin to become a full-time outfielder and parked a grand slam on opening day.
A former Diamondbacks farmhand, Cowgill finished with a .291 / .371 / .470 line in the minors and swiped 30 bases during a breakout Triple-A campaign two years ago in the Pacific Coast League. He finished with a .269 average in his 116 plate appearances for the A’s last year, softening a 23 percent whiff rate with a .336 on-base percentage. In March, Cowgill played well, hitting .300 while launching five home runs, a performance good enough to fend off a playing time challenge from Valdespin.
Chalk it up to my chronic pessimism as a Mets fan, but I’m not yet sold on Cowgill emerging as a mixed-league fantasy option in 2013, especially when factoring in a ballpark that won’t do him any favors and an NL East replete with strong starting pitching. But Cowgill, whose ownership jumped 20 points in CBS this week, is definitely an intriguing upside player to watch as he hits atop the Mets’ order. Oliver sees a .671 OPS with nine home runs and 15 steals, which seems reasonable as a low-end estimate.
Recommendation: Worth a pick up in most NL-only leagues.
Tyson Ross | SP | San Diego Padres | 1 percent Yahoo ownership; 0 percent ESPN ownership; 3 percent CBS ownership
Oliver ROS: 4.50 ERA / 1.491 WHIP / 6.25 K/9
As Andrew Cashner continues to recover from the offseason thumb surgery that limited his playing time during the spring, the Padres have tapped right-hander Ross to be the team’s fifth starter to open the season.
Obviously, fantasy owners want to see Cashner and his mid-90s heat in the rotation as soon as he’s ready, and there’s no reason to believe that San Diego’s front office doesn’t feel the same way. Trouble is, the team also wants to keep Cashner’s innings down this year, so it’s possible he might not be in the rotation until May or June, assuming, of course, he doesn’t get hurt again.
Enter Ross, who had a 2-11 record, 1.81 WHIP and 5.65 K/9 to show for his 73.1 innings last year. A college star in his University of California days, Ross, who turns 26 later this month, became a top prospect for the A’s due to his mid-90s fastball and penchant for getting grounders. Unfortunately, the strikeouts have yet to materialize on the big league level, and difficulties in stranding runners have contributed to a career 4.26 FIP.
His spring, which featured a 1.29 WHIP in 21 innings, was decent enough, I guess, though a 19-to-10 K:BB ratio is not going to cut it in the regular season. Still, Petco, moved-in fences and all, will still favor pitchers, and Ross might be worth a look for owners in deep leagues who need to add a warm body.
Recommendation: Pass in most leagues until he proves he can hack it.
Kyuji Fujikawa | RP | Chicago Cubs | 51 percent Yahoo ownership; 40 percent ESPN ownership; 45 percent CBS ownership
Oliver ROS: 3.33 ERA / 1.22 WHIP / 10.12 K/9
On Monday, Dale Sveum wasted no time in pulling the combustible Carlos Marmol in the ninth inning, eventually calling upon Kyuji Fujikawa, the Cubs’ offseason Japanese import, to record the game’s final out. Three days later, Fujikawa pitched a perfect eighth to set up Chicago’s closer, only to watch him allow two earned runs en route to a shaky save. Marmol, the subject of trade talks all winter, also suffered through a terrible start to last season before settling down in the final two-thirds of the year, and Sveum has, at least as of this writing on Thursday evening, publicly stuck by his closer. That said, how long will Fujikawa stick around on the wires if Marmol blows another save?
Recommendation: If you have the bench space and need saves, grab Fujikawa now.
Chris Heisey | OF | Cincinnati Reds | 3 percent Yahoo ownership; 0.3 percent ESPN ownership; 6 percent CBS ownership
Oliver ROS: .251 / .314 / .410
I don’t have much to add to FanGraphs scribe Dan Wade’s take on why Billy Hamilton, who’s yet to play a game above Double-A, won’t replace Ryan Ludwick during his three-month absence:
Hamilton isn’t even on the 40-man roster, so unless Ludwick heads directly to the 60-day disabled list, the Reds would need to shuffle someone off the roster even as their bullpen pulled yeoman duty in Monday’s extra innings loss to the Angels. This would both start Hamilton’s service clock and burn an option, neither are the end of the world if the Reds were determined that Hamilton was definitely ready to come up, but with that in question, it becomes less palatable.
Instead, welcome Chris Heisey to everyday duty. Dusty Baker has made it clear that Heisey, 28, will get a shot to play everyday, so we’ll see a guy who can smack an occasional home run and steal a base here and there, which could make him attractive in leagues sporting deep outfields. He helped win Thursday’s ballgame with a home run and stole a base earlier this week, so he seems to be off to a good start.
Recommendation: Worth picking up in deeper mixed leagues.
Posted by Karl de Vries at 2:10am
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