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THT's Fantasy Archives
Wednesday, April 10, 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'll grudgingly recommend Chad Billingsley here, but I wouldn't use him.
Pitcher (bum): Now here's where it gets interesting. TBA is pitching for the Indians after Brett Myers had to bail out Carlos Carrasco yesterday. Yet I still think that Jonathan Sanchez will have the worst outing of the day. There are plenty of others to choose from beyond that pair.
Hitter (power): Juan Francisco, Nolan Reimold, and Lucas Duda all have a power stroke and the match-up to use it.
Hitter (speed): I'm going to drop Collin Cowgill from the recommendation list. He's leading off, but he shouldn't be. That leaves Domonic Brown who I'm more excited about in a general sense rather than as a base stealer. Will Venable is more of a pure burner and Billingsley's first start isn't a bad place to play that card.
Pitcher (to start): I'm going to stick my neck out a bit and recommend Carlos Villanueva. I've liked him for years.
A.J. Griffin may be a more reliable choice, although he faces the Angels' stacked lineup.
Pitcher (bum): The Marquis de San Diego (ahem, Jason Marquis) ought to struggle a bit. He's one of the few pitchers that I'm pretty sure I could bat above .250 against.
I'm playing heavily against used-to-be-talented veterans in the early going. I don't think Dan Haren is going to have a good year, which should mean runs for the White Sox.
Hitter (power): Nate Schierholtz doesn't really fit in either category, but Ryan Vogelsong is hittable.
Same as Schierholtz, Daniel Nava isn't much of a power threat, but he should start against Chris Tillman.
Michael Morse is no longer widely available, but if he wasn't picked up in your league, a start against Matt Harrison looks very attractive.
Hitter (speed): Try out Jackie Bradley Jr. against Tillman too.
Jered Weaver is out with a broken elbow, although no surgery is needed. Jason Motte may need surgery on his elbow though.
In his return from injury and a suspension for hitting Billy Butler in 2011, Carlos Carrasco was ejected for intentionally hitting Kevin Youkilis and may be suspended again. This is how life is meant to be lived.
It's looking quite stormy today. The Reds, Cardinals, Mets, Phillies, Brewers, Cubs, Jays, Tigers, Rays, Rangers, Yankees, Indians, Orioles, and Red Sox all have a risk of rain or thunderstorms. None of the games appear at risk of a full rain-out, but delays could be rampant.
Posted by Brad Johnson
It’s April, and that means a lot of surprising names atop the young season’s value rankings. In this column, I’m going to focus on four players off to hot starts and select two who I’m buying into and two who I am not. When I say I’m buying into a player, that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m buying into his current level performance, just that I think he’ll prove to have been mispriced in the preseason.
Similarly, for those I don’t buy, I’m not implying the player will be a bust, just that I see no reason to adjust preseason expectations for the player in light of him having a hot start.
Hot starts I’m buying
Fowler wasn’t too far from breaking out last year. He put up double digit homers and steals and a .389 OBP. Having hit in the lower third of the lineup in roughly a quarter of his games, that stellar OBP translated into only 72 runs. When hitting in the one-two slots, where he is locked into in 2013, Fowler scored runs at a clip of roughly 90 per 162.
At age 27, Fowler should be entering his prime and I expected an increase in power—his SLG has increased each year of his career. Coming into the season, Yahoo ranked Fowler as their 52nd best outfield-eligible player, but by the end of the season, I predict he will be more of a top-30 outfielder and top-100 player.
Since he was pre-ranked by Yahoo at 77 and 23rd among outfielders, I can’t say Choo was disrespected coming into the season. At his peak in 2009/2010, Choo was a legitimate five-category asset and a top-50 player. Hitting leadoff this season, it will be hard for him to put up above average RBIs, so he may now be more of a four-category player.
But he is still set up with a good chance to have the most valuable fantasy season of his career. Playing his home games in the Cincinnati will boost his home run totals, and hitting atop a very good Reds lineup should position him and his career .383 OBP to score more than 100 runs, a milestone reached by only 12 players in 2012. If he remains healthy, Choo could finish as a top-15 outfielder and a top 40 overall value.
Hot starts I’m not buying
I don’t have anything against Chris Davis. I think he is a fine fantasy first baseman with a pretty well-defined skill set. I don’t think his scorching start is a complete anomaly; the man did hit 33 homers last year. But this column is about trying to determine whether players are likely to produce well beyond preseason expectations, and I don’t see enough evidence from Davis to indicate this to be the case—and certainly not from today forward, as we’ve most likely already seen his best week of the season.
In a very small 2013 sample size, he is striking out less often and walking more frequently. But, over his career he’s struck out in almost 31 pdercent of his plate appearances and walked in only 6 percent. I need to see the trend of this first week continue for a while longer before I anoint him a changed man and reevaluate his ceiling. I’d say to trade him now if you can, after having already reaped three weeks' worth of production in one.
Masterson has previously tempted fans to think he’s capable of taking the leap from just a guy into a legitimate mound asset. To kick of 2013, he’s been teasing fans again, but I’m not buying it. While he has struck out a batter per inning, he’s also walked seven in 13 frames—control has traditionally been one of Masterson’s problems.
Further, looking into the PITCHf/x data, he doesn’t seem to be doing anything particularly differently than that which has produced mediocrity in years past. The biggest difference from previous years is that he is throwing his slider a bit more and getting good results. It remains to be seen whether its efficacy can be maintained if hitters adjust and look for it a bit more. In a standard 12-team mixed league, I predict Masterson will spend time on a number of different teams as well as on the waiver wire in the course of the season.
Posted by Derek Ambrosino
The flip side of April’s custom of unfamiliar names atop the leaderboards is those studs mired in the dumps. Here I’m going to discuss two players whose poor starts I feel are indeed harbingers of poor seasons, as well as two players whose poor starts I chalk up to simply small sample size.
Concerning cold starts
Perez has been the recipient of considerable superlatives from many around the Kansas City Royals organization. He burst onto the scene last year and tore the cover off the ball before injuring himself. This left many fantasy owners eager to own Perez in 2013, expecting a real offensive star at the catcher position.
The first week of 2013 has not been kind to Perez though, who is sporting an ugly .200/.226/.233 line. If this keeps up, he’ll be demoted from the four/five slot in the batting order. One thing I worry about with Perez is that throughout his minor league career, he was not the power threat many investing in him have pegged him. Granted, we are talking about seasons when Perez was 18–20 years old, but his profile seemed more like a free swinger higher average type.
I don’t blame his owners for rolling the dice, but I would not be surprised if he struggles on and off throughout the entire season and finishes up being borderline waiver wire material in standard leagues.
2012 was a tale of two halves for the 55th pre-ranked fantasy player of 2013. In the final 69 games of the season, Kipnis posted a .232/.322/.328 line, with 33 runs, 27 RBIs, three homers, and 11 steals. There aren’t too many players pre-ranked as a top-five option at their position who spent half of 2012 as a replacement-level player.
I deliberately avoided Kipnis is my drafts, given his price, and if I were a Kipnis owner and could get close to preseason value for him, I’d jump ship. He rode a surprising 2011 call-up into a great first half of 2012 and is now coming back to earth. I’d be quite surprised if he finishes the season ranked in the top 100.
What, me worry?
Dickey is certainly a player about whom there are varying opinions and, therefore, different owners probably have different expectations for him. While I did not expect him to repeat his 2012 Cy Young season, he did have a three-year track record of being highly effective and I was expecting a top 12-18 starter. I am not ready to jump off that position yet. Knuckleball pitchers will take their share of lumps and have their share of bad outings. As long as Dickey gets a handle on his control—he’s been uncharacteristically wild in his first two outings—he’ll settle in and be quite valuable.
I am covering Trout here only because there was a segment of owners who did not believe him to be a legitimate No. 1 overall pick. One week into the season, he hasn’t stolen a base or hit a longball and has scored only three times. Don’t fret though. The skill set is still there and even with a decent amount of regression, it’s hard to see Trout not turning in a top-five season.
Now is the time to start knocking on the door of Trout owners. Those who selected him begrudgingly on the word of others and against their personal inclinations may be feeling skeptical and vindicated by this start and may be looking for a mulligan in their first round pick. Offer a late first-rounder or early second-rounder for him… it can’t hurt.
Posted by Derek Ambrosino
When we last left our heroes, Kyuji Fujikawa
was serving as caddy to Carlos Marmol
, Jim Henderson
was in John Axford
’s shadow and Tyson Ross
was nothing more than the man keeping Andrew Cashner
out of the Padres’ starting rotation. One week later, Fujikawa is (for the moment) taking care of ninth-inning leads for the Cubs, my waiver wire wingman Jack Weiland
’s prescient observation
that Henderson could be The Man in Milwaukee was spot on, and Ross uncorked two wild pitches in a loss to the Rockies.
But just as we’ve kept tabs on those two closer situations through their upheaval, we now turn our attention to the Midwest, where two more bullpens might be headed toward crises of their own.
Trevor Rosenthal | St. Louis Cardinals | RP | 12 percent Yahoo ownership; 4.6 percent ESPN ownership; 21 percent CBS ownership
YTD: 5 IP / 1.43 FIP / 12.60 K/9 / 1.80 BB/9
Oliver: 102 IP / 3.72 FIP / 7.17 K/9 / 3.72 BB/9
This is not what we call a quality outing for a relief pitcher:
0.1 IP, 2 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 0 K
It almost hurts to look at. So imagine how Mitchell Boggs
must feel after his meltdown Monday against the Reds. Okay, so Boggs was hurt by a couple of infield rollers during that nightmarish frame, but along with a blown save last week, it’s been an inauspicious start for Jason Motte
’s interim replacement. Regardless of how his MRI scheduled for Tuesday turns out (the results were not immediately available when I submitted this column), Motte is still at least a few weeks away from facing major league hitters, and unless St. Louis is hosting a Maalox night at the ballpark this month, some security in the ninth inning would be a nice thing to have.
Is Rosenthal the man? A bona fide flame-thrower whose average fastball velocity sat at 97 mph last year, Rosenthal in 27 career innings has boasted a 10.41 K/9, a nice groundball rate and a solid (2.6) walk rate. Problem is, Rosenthal was used exclusively as a starter during his minor league career, and he’s already blown two leads in his five appearances so far in 2013, making me question whether he has the guile for late-inning fire duty.
Bullpen counterpart Edward Mujica
, meanwhile, has a wealth of relief experience, but just four career saves and not nearly the strikeout capability that Rosenthal does. Beyond that, 24-year-old Eduardo Sanchez
is starting out the season in Triple-A but has strikeout stuff.
So far, manager Mike Matheny
hasn’t indicated whether a change is on the way, so if you were needy enough to grab Boggs in the first place for the saves, you might as well hold onto him. But owners are clearly starting to move on to Rosenthal, which is fine if one has the bench space, though I’d say it’s less than guaranteed whether he’ll pick up saves as Motte continues to rehab.
Not worth the bench space until he earns the role.
Kelvin Herrera | Kansas City Royals | RP | 45 percent Yahoo ownership; 23 percent ESPN ownership; 32 percent CBS ownership
YTD: 3.1 IP / -0.27 FIP / 18.90 K/9 / 2.7 BB/9
Oliver: 68 IP / 3.38 FIP / 7.29 K/9 / 2.65 BB/9
It’s no revelation that Herrera has a live arm. According to FanGraphs’ PITCHfx charts, Herrera, 23, boasted the fastball with the second-highest average velocity
among qualified relievers in 2012. We know he’s talented; the question is whether he’ll have fantasy value.
But it didn’t take long for opportunity to knock. Greg Holland
gave up a crushing blown save/loss on Saturday, and had to be bailed out by Herrera against the Phillies on Sunday. Aaron Crow
picked up the save on Monday’s 3-1 win over the Twins, but that can be chalked up to manager Ned Yost
for not wanting to use either Holland or Herrera for the third straight day.
There’s a lot to like about the 23-year-old. I’m a big fan of his 2.24 walk rate, which suggests he can do more besides throw really, really hard. Yeah, an 81 percent strand rate feels due to come down a bit, but when it’s balanced by a 55.5 percent groundball rate, I’m willing to give it a pass.
Predictably, Yost has stood by his closer, and Holland, after an injury-affected start in 2012, pitched very well as KC’s closer last year. But his velocity seems to be off
from 2012, and despite a nice track record, a high-quality, high-upside reliever waits to replace him. Herrera is already starting to be picked up in leagues; if there's a whiff of injury news from Holland he's a must-add.
Put your fantasy forces on DEFCON 3. Holland's departure might not be imminent, but his upcoming outings will be worth monitoring.
Justin Maxwell | Houston Astros | OF | 12 percent Yahoo ownership; 22 percent ESPN ownership; 23 CBS ownership
YTD: 27 PA / 360 / .407 / .560 with 0 HR / 0 SB
Oliver: 393 PA / .231 / .316 / .409 with 14 HR / 10 SB
Forget the milestone that marked the Astros’ inaugural American League game on March 31. The real story was center fielder Justin Maxwell, who belted two triples and made a great play on a David Murphy
drive to lead the team to victory over the Rangers. Since then, Maxwell, 29, has hit in all but one of the games in which he’s appeared (entering Tuesday’s action), and has seen his CBS ownership jump by 11 percentage points since the season began.
Drafted by the Nationals in 2005, traded to the Yankees and claimed off waivers by the Astros at the beginning of last year, Maxwell posted a .229/.304/.460 line in 352 plate appearances. His .292 BABIP might suggest his batting average was the victim of some bad luck, but his 67 percent contact rate was the third-lowest among major league players with at least 350 plate appearances last year, and was accompanied by a dreadful 32.4 percent whiff rate.
Maxwell certainly possesses some pop, evidenced by his career .209 ISO, and with the tempting Crawford boxes overlooking
Minute Maid Park’s left field, it’s not hard to imagine a guy who bashed 18 home runs last year putting up at least 20 in this season. Add 15 to 20 steals and you have a cheap player who can help your squad—as long as you’re ready to stomach a hit to your team’s batting average.
He's cheap offense for AL-only leagues.
Garrett Richards | Los Angeles Angels | SP | 1 percent Yahoo ownership; 0 percent ESPN ownership; 6 percent CBS ownership
YTD: 4.1 IP / 4.42 FIP / 10.38 K/9 / 2.08 BB/9
Oliver ROS: 148 IP / 4.08 FIP / 5.98 K/9 / 3.54 BB/9
For those who were predicting a down year in fantasy value for Jered Weaver
in 2013 (of whom there were many), good news: The fractured left elbow
he suffered the other day will fulfill that prophecy. With Weaver facing at least a month away from major league action, the Angels are likely to tap Richards, 24, to pick up a few starts in the rotation while he’s away.
What is there to say about Richards? He offers a pedestrian 6.15 K/9 and 4.97 FIP during his career 89.1 innings, and isn't likely to set the fantasy world ablaze in 2013. But even a mediocre Angels hurler, backed by a strong offense and a bullpen that will eventually add Ryan Madson
to its ranks, could be useful in some leagues.
Strictly AL-only right now.
Posted by Karl de Vries
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