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THT's Fantasy Archives
Monday, May 20, 2013
The Daily Grind provides daily match-up advice for tinkerers 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 daily picks are a mixture of Daily League specific advice and information for the more typical fantasy owner.
Pitcher (to start): Scott Kazmir is currently posting some of the best peripherals of his career. The only blemish is an extremely elevated HR/FB ratio: 21.2 percent of fly balls have left the yard.
Jake Odorizzi will make his first start as a Ray today. He was posting solid numbers in Triple-A, including a strikeout rate above nine per nine innings and a walk rate around three per nine. He may be in the rotation for only a few starts while David Price is out.
In terms of expectations, Odorizzi will probably provide top waiver quality output—something like eight K/9, four BB/9, a 4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. His ownership could shoot up quickly since he's a prospect.
I saw Jeremy Guthrie was facing the Astros today and then I saw he's owned in 61 percent of leagues. I hope about 40 of that 61 percent picked him up as a stream starter, but I know better. Tsk tsk.
Pitcher (bum): There are a couple epic exploits in play for today.
Zach Duke versus Ryan Vogelsong promises fireworks aplenty.
Josh Lindblomt—a relievert—is starting against the A's today.
Alex Sanabia tends to bend but not break. He's a good bet to allow four runs on five innings.
Shaun Marcum is coming off his best outing and could be in the process of turning the corner. I'm going to continue betting against him for the time being.
The Yankees should enjoy a reunion with Freddy Garcia.
Hitter (power): Travis Hafner has dropped off his epic pace, but you can try him out against Garcia.
Domonic Brown is a solid play against Sanabia.
Play the Seth Smith and Brandon Moss train today, although they'll face a mix of righties and lefties.
Eric Young Jr. will start against lefty Patrick Corbin. You may also want to try Gerardo Parra against Jon Garland.
Pitcher (to start): Matt Garza is 59 percent owned, but in the leagues where he is not owned, this may be your one shot to scoop him up.
Jose Fernandez barely qualifies for a recommendation at 48 percent owned. He's done well against the Phillies in two outings and they may be without Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz.
Go ahead and stack Angels against Aaron Harang.
The Cardinals will face erratic righty Edinson Volquez.
Tyler Cloyd has been roughed up by Triple-A lineups worse than the Marlins all season. For daily league owners, this might be a rare opportunity to lean on the Marlins offense for cheap points.
Mike Pelfrey's looking pretty ugly this year. The Braves aren't likely to go hungry tomorrow.
Juan Francisco will bring his hard swing against Pelfrey.
Dan Straily has struggled with command, making him a solid match-up for David Murphy.
Jonny Gomes will get to face another non-elite lefty in Jose Quintana.
Did you know that "the Royals are 5-0 when Wade Davis allows four runs or fewer but 0-3 when he does not." Thanks MLB.com. Now try Carlos Pena against him.
Kelly Johnson has a good match-up against Ramon Ortiz.
You can hang onto Parra for his start against Jhoulys Chacin.
Johnny Cueto is back in action today.
Jurickson Profar has been recalled and will start at second base while Ian Kinsler recovers from bruised ribs. It will likely be a short stint on the disabled list, so don't cut a key contributor for Profar. Yahoo surprisingly gave him only UTIL eligibility.
Garza will make his first start of the season tomorrow.
Games in Baltimore and Chicago may see isolated storms today, but the weather seems manageable otherwise.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 5:35am
Remember that feeling you used to get on Christmas Eve, giddy with excitement and unable to sleep? That’s how I’m feeling as I write this, because Jurickson Profar was called up on Sunday to replace the injured Ian Kinsler and is slated to start at second base on Monday.
If he’s on the waiver wire in your league, even in standard mixed leagues, go pick him up right now. If you’re in an AL-only league, he’s almost certainly already owned, but in mixed leagues he’s likely available, seeing as his ownership on Yahoo is currently 29 percent and just 9.8 percent on ESPN.
Profar, regarded by many as the best prospect in all of baseball, earned a cup of coffee with the big-league club last season as a 19-year-old after he hit .281/.368/.452 in Double-A. He started this year in Triple-A, and while his .278/.370/.438 line looks pretty good to start with, especially for a middle infielder, he has been absolutely raking lately. In his last ten games, Profar is hitting an absurd .415 with four walks and four strikeouts in 46 plate appearances, and he homered twice on Saturday before receiving the call-up on Sunday.
Still just 20 years old, Profar has a tremendously mature approach at the plate, as evidenced by the fact that he has 180 walks and 212 strikeouts in his minor-league career. He also possesses one of the best hit tools in the minors, and because of those two factors, he should be able to hit for a high average in the majors right now. Reaching 15 homers and 15 steals wouldn’t be out of the question in a full season, and with his on-base ability, he has the potential to score runs in bunches in the Rangers’ potent lineup.
The big question, of course, is what the Rangers will do with Profar when Kinsler is healthy. As the Twins have shown with Oswaldo Arcia—and which I predicted in this column three weeks ago—there are ways to get a talented player into the lineup on a full-time basis merely by using him to give the regulars days off. I certainly could see the Rangers following this model.
Another option would be to trade him to fill a need elsewhere, such as in the outfield or the rotation. Both Elvis Andrus and Kinsler are locked up for years and, on a pure baseball level, Profar has more value to other teams as a shortstop than he has to the Rangers as a second baseman/utility man. Every team wants an above-average defensive shortstop who can hit; the Rangers just happen to have one already.
Of course, the Rangers could just send him back down to Triple-A. After all, the kid is only 20 years old. If he doesn’t perform in the majors until Kinsler returns, it would be easily justifiable, and even practical, to send him back down. If he does perform, as I fully expect he will, the Rangers will have a very nice problem on their hands.
So why, with all the questions about his potential playing time, am I recommending owners in standard mixed leagues pick him up? It all comes down to a philosophical belief of mine regarding fantasy sports. My response to a question I received on Twitter regarding Profar sums it up nicely:
I can’t tell you whether Profar will be back in Triple-A three weeks from now. I can’t tell you if he’s ready for the majors. What I can tell you is that you do not win fantasy leagues if you are not willing to take risks. This used to be my Achilles’ heel in fantasy.
I was just not willing to take chances, and I always overvalued the players on my roster because I so badly wanted them to all be awesome. As a result, I perennially finished anywhere between third and sixth in my long-running, 12-team home league. I almost always made the playoffs, but I never won. It took me years to figure out why.
Not everyone on your roster is awesome. Jurickson Profar could be. Just go add him already.
Posted by Scott Strandberg at 4:21am
Okay, so Denard Span and Will Venable have done basically nothing in the days since we had them on the waiver wire, though I remain optimistic that both will see their ownership levels rise as the next few weeks unfold. Meanwhile, our old friend Patrick Corbin continues his ridiculously hot start to the season, even if a major market correction looms, while Yonder Alonso has seen his ownership levels droop slightly despite maintaining a decent batting average.
But that’s in the past. Let’s talk about some fresh faces as we kick off Week 8 on the waiver wire.
David Phelps | New York Yankees | SP | 10 percent Yahoo ownership; 4 percent ESPN; 38 percent CBS
YTD: 42.1 IP / 3.64 FIP / 9.78 K/9 / 3.83 BB/9
ZiPS updated: 134 IP / 4.06 FIP / 8.33 K/9 / 3.45 BB/9
Every team should be as fortunate to have a Phelps among its pitching corps, and no, I’m not being facetious. Having aided the team’s October run late last summer, Phelps, 26, now finds himself a member of the starting rotation, having posted a 1-1 record with a 2.84 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over four starts. On Saturday, Phelps neutralized the (albeit struggling) Blue Jays, allowing just one earned run over seven strong innings.
That performance continued what’s been a strong major league career so far for Phelps, who’s been a strikeout-per-inning pitcher since his debut last year and has been stingy yielding free passes throughout his professional tenure.
Granted, his current strikeout penchant is not supported by an ability to generate swinging strikes, which portends a drop there, and the career 4.12 FIP is probably closer to Phelps’ future as a back-of-the-rotation guy rather than the savior he’s been over his past few outings. But why carp? A guy who can pitch competently on a first-place team is a no-brainer add in mixed leagues, right?
Not so fast, because the question about Phelps’ fantasy value has less to do with his ability to be a decent major league starter than it does whether he’s the best option at the Yankees’ disposal when Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda get back.
We’ll start with Nova, who looked primed to return last week from a triceps injury, only to suffer a setback with an injury to his side during an extended spring training game, and it’s currently unclear when he’ll return to active duty.
Pineda, of course, is still recovering from that awful labrum injury he suffered last year, and although he’s throwing again (and reportedly hit 95 mph on the radar gun earlier this month), the Yankees don’t expect him back until mid-June at the earliest.
Long story short, neither Nova or Pineda is coming back soon enough to prevent Phelps from making at least a few more starts, and frankly, their return might not be enough to squeeze him out of the rotation anyway. We’ll find out for sure as they get healthy, but in the meantime, I think Phelps will provide solid fantasy help across the board, making him a worthy pickup in deeper leagues.
Recommendation: Can contribute in standard mixed leagues.
Jake Odorizzi | Tampa Bay Rays | SP | 7 percent Yahoo ownership; .1 percent ESPN; 24 percent CBS
ZiPS updated: N/A
The fantasy world held its breath last week when Rays ace and reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price went down with what’s being described as a right triceps injury. On the surface, that doesn’t sound too bad, but his fastball had lost velocity from last year, and there’s speculation that the company line is merely a cover for a far more serious ailment. Time will ultimately tell, but in the meantime, it’s probably prudent to wave bye-bye to Price for at least the next few weeks.
In his place comes 23-year-old Odorizzi, a key part of both the 2010 trade that sent Zack Greinke to Milwaukee and the offseason James Shields/Wil Myers deal last year. Boasting a fastball, curve, slider and changeup, Odorizzi appeared on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list in each of the past three years, and came up for two starts last year in Kansas City.
He’s considered a good, not great, prospect, though he was off to a nice start in Triple-A this year, posting a 4-0 record over eight starts with a 3.83 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and a 9.5 K/9. A former first-round draft pick, Odorizzi seems primed for a solid major league career, even if his ceiling has more in common with a mid-rotation role than an ace’s responsibility.
That being said, it seems he’ll have an opportunity to make his mark as Joe Maddon says Odorizzi will gobble up Price’s starts while he’s on the shelf. In Week 8, that makes him a two-start option as Odorizzi prepares to face the hapless Blue Jays in Toronto this afternoon, and, barring disaster, the Yankees at home on Sunday.
Those aren’t impossible matchups for the neophyte, but they’re not exactly charitable foes, either, so while I’m interested to see how Odorizzi does this week, I’m not sure a sense of urgency surrounds him outside of the deepest mixed leagues in which his two starts are absolutely necessary.
Recommendation: Pass in mixed leagues until he pads his resume.
Raul Ibanez | Seattle Mariners | OF/DH | 8 percent Yahoo ownership; 8 percent ESPN; 12 percent CBS
YTD: 94 PA / .236 / .277 / .562 with 8 HR and 0 SB
ZiPS updated: 404 PA / .237 / .287 / .456 with 20 HR and 1 SB
By the time May dawned, the soon-to-be 41-year-old Ibanez, hitting just .158 at the time, was a fantasy corpse, an afterthought in all but the deepest AL-only leagues. But as the weather heated up, so did Ibanez’s bat, and after helping the Mariners tie up Saturday’s game with a home run against the Indians’ Chris Perez, Ibanez has suddenly seen his ownership pick up thanks to a month that, entering Sunday’s action, had him bashing to a .375 average with six home runs and a ridiculous 1.425 OPS.
Anyone who tuned in to the ALDS between the Yankees and Orioles knows that Ibanez still can provide help on a baseball diamond, and he managed to hammer 19 home runs with 62 RBIs last year. But while the past few weeks have reminded us that Ibanez can still provide fantasy help, it’s important to remember that he’s basically a platoon player in Seattle, splitting time with Jason Bay.
In Week 8, the Mariners will face no fewer than three lefties (Scott Kazmir, C.J. Wilson and Derek Holland), which more or less neutralizes Ibanez's bat fantasy-wise in the immediate future. Players like Ibanez are definitely useful while they’re hot, and I have nothing against salvaging old parts to help the fantasy war effort (right, Travis Hafner?). But I’m going to pass on picking him up right now.
Recommendation: Strictly AL-only league material.
Posted by Karl de Vries at 3:08am
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