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Tuesday, July 09, 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.
A flight cancellation interfered with yesterday's Grind.
Pitcher (to start): Martin Perez is 11 percent owned and features strong peripherals. Despite a solid whiff rate, he's currently not striking out many batters. That combined with a match-up against Baltimore make him a hard pitcher to start today.
Kyle Gibson currently has one strong start and one meltdown to his name. He features the raw tools of a quality fantasy pitcher and the Rays aren't the most potent offense, so he isn't a bad player upon whom to gamble.
I've grown weary of Tony Cingrani, but the Brewers offense is a bit of a shambles. Ryan Braun is slated to return but Aramis Ramirez is now out. Cingrani is 46 percent owned and I have him permanently rostered in most of my leagues.
Dillon Gee is the only stream starter that I'm using today. He's been much better over the past month and his match-up against the Giants should mitigate his home run problems. It's possible that Gee is worth owning.
Pitcher (bum): Ubaldo Jimenez has allowed both walks and hits in bunches this season. The Toronto sluggers are well positioned to take advantage.
Ian Kennedy and the Dodgers have developed a bit of a story this season. I'm interested to see how this one plays out. It's also Ricky Nolasco's first start as a Dodger, but I would play him if he's available.
Allen Webster has shown good stuff including a big fastball and high whiff rate. However, until he gets his ERA and FIP in order, I will be betting against him.
Hitter (power): Ike Davis is back in blue and orange and in his three games he's gone 4-for-13 with four walks and three strikeouts. I may have him categorized wrong as a power threat against Barry Zito—he's stolen a base in each of his last two games.
Darin Ruf is filling in for an injured Ryan Howard. He's had a disappointing season and the only positive here is that he's likely to bat out of the middle of the order.
Hitter (speed): One of my favorite multi-purpose options—Will Venable—will face a hittable Eric Stults.
Eric Young is essentially a permanent resident of the column. He's playing every day but he contributes only to stolen bases.
Rajai Davis could reach base a couple times against Jimenez.
Grab Leonys Martin while you still can. He's at risk of falling into a platoon when Craig Gentry returns, but for now he's starting and putting up great numbers.
Pitcher (to start): A very difficult Cardinals offense got to Jacob Turner in his last outing, but I'm growing more comfortable expecting consistent performance from the youngster. Keep in mind that he'll have a hard time winning games, which makes him a fringy choice to spot-start.
Zack Wheelerr is another fringy start option at San Francisco. His walk rate strikes me as potentially jitters-inflated. A correction would help him realize his 2013 potential as a mid-rotation starter.
The Rick Porcello bandwagon is emptying, but he has a great match-up against the offense starved White Sox tomorrow.
Let's round out tomorrow's options with short comments. Tyler Skaggs, Felix Doubront, Aaron Harang, and Andrew Cashner are all varying degrees of available and all are potentially startable depending on your situation. I'm using Doubront.
Pitcher (bum): Jonny Hellweg has had a rough go in his first pass through the league. He'll face the Reds tomorrow.
Wade Davis is coming off one of his strongest outings, but he's been too prone to blowing up this season and the Yankees can still punish right-handers.
Texas is set to use the venerable TBA.
Hitter (power): Kyle Blanks will see lefty Jorge de la Rosa
Brian Dozier is useful mostly for his dual eligibility at shortstop and second base. He'll face Jeremy Hellickson.
Travis Hafner should be of use tomorrow against Wade Davis.
Ike Davis has a better match-up tomorrow against Matt Cain.
Hitter (speed): Try Chris Denorfia against de la Rosa.
Hang onto Martin if you can get him.
My usual news queries are clogged with All-Star blather, so share anything interesting that happened yesterday or will happen today.
The Northeast and Midwest will see scattered storms today. That includes games hosted in Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia
Posted by Brad Johnson at 5:34am
I don't often watch Red Sox games, despite living three miles from Fenway Park, but Sunday night's date with the Angels carried major fantasy implications for me, so I was locked in. At one point the much written about Jose Iglesias strode to the plate, and the discussion in the booth inevitably turned to his newfound ability to hit baseballs.
Like, really frequently, even for a major league player. He's really been hitting lots of baseballs, and this is something that is quite new.
Then John Kruk said something like this (some modest paraphrasing employed):
Jose Iglesias used to not be able to hit at all. Literally he could not lift his arms high enough to hold a bat. He would just stand there at the plate, looking longingly into the distance while tears rolled down his cheeks and fastballs zipped by. He was powerless. He was lost. Then he met Dustin Pedroia, and Dustin Pedroia told him to stand up more straight, not crouch so much, (it's bad for the posture) and it's made all the difference. Dustin Pedroia looked deep into Jose Iglesias' eyes—nay, his soul—and recovered the hitter—nay, the person —within. All of this is what actually happened, and my name is John Kruk.
Some things I think about this:
1. Don't the Red Sox have hitting coaches? Must Dustin Pedroia do everything?
2. Does John Kruk think Dustin Pedroia taught Jose Iglesias to have a .475 batting average on balls in play? Yes. Yes, he does. John Kruk believes Dustin Pedroia taught Jose Iglesias to have a .475 batting average on balls in play.
3. Why wasn't this mentioned sooner? Could we not have saved Will Middlebrooks an exile to the wasteland they call Pawtucket?
4. It's weird that John Kruk ends everything he says with "My name is John Kruk," right? Strange fellow, that one.
5. I am mostly just grumpy because those aforementioned fantasy implications did not work out well, and I lost my match-up last week by a point differential equating to exactly 0.4056993904709641 percent. Yes, I carried it out to the 16th decimal place. That's how angry I am. And I am taking it out on John Kruk and Jose Iglesias.
Last week my intro acted as a kiss of disabled list for Roy Oswalt, who heard a pop in his left hamstring and headed straight to the DL. So much for his luck turning around.
In the hopes of stemming further injury, and because this column is being written by a grumpy pants, let's rain on two more parades. I promise next week I will be in a better mood.
Raul Ibanez | Seattle Mariners | OF | ESPN: 98.2 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 56 percent; CBS: 75 percent
YTD: .260/.306/.563 in 271 plate appearances
ZiPS projection: .253/.302/.516 474 plate appearances
A co-worker hit me with a fun fact yesterday: Raul Ibanez is just eight home runs shy of the single season record for a player in his 40s. Ted Williams' 29, from 1960, stands as the current mark. Another fun fact I found in writing this: Ibanez has hit more home runs in his 40s than he hit in his 20s. Credit to Jonah Keri via Twitter.
While Ibanez' 22 home runs have been a fun surprise, my response was essentially "That's nice, don't expect it to continue."
Ibanez' current ISO of .303 is the best mark of his entire career, even better than the last time he had an out-of-nowhere power surge like this, his age-37 season in 2009, when he smacked 34 dingers for the Phillies. His ISO that year was .280. This season, four years later, it's 20 points higher. And that 2009 ISO was the highest of his career by 37 percentage points. His ISO has been aided by the fact that an absurd number of flyballs are leaving the yard right now. Ibanez' HR/FB rate of 27.5 is currently double his career average of 13.5, and nearly triple the league average of 10.8 percent.
It's hard to imagine all of that continuing, especially when you consider that (despite moving the fences in) Safeco Field has been a home run depressant again this year. It is also troubling that Ibanez finds himself among the league leaders in Just Enough home runs, with eight.
In other words, the power pace will likely slow dramatically, and when it does Ibanez' value will dry up. It's been fun, I hope it continues, but if he's on my team, I am selling. Hard.
Recommendation: Enjoy the story as a baseball fan, jump ship as a fantasy owner.
Gordon Beckham | Chicago White Sox | 2B | ESPN: 16.3 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 9 percent; CBS: 33 percent
YTD: .338/.364/.426 in 144 plate appearances
ZiPS projection: .293/.337/.406 in 381 plate appearances
When we last checked in on Beckham, my stance was that I would need to see it (
Well, a source tells me Beckham is hitting .338 right now, so do I believe it? Not really, but I am more encouraged by this profile than I have been in a long, long time.
It's true that Beckham's shiny average is bolstered by the fact that he has a BABIP (.391) that far exceeds his career average (.286), but most of that career has been Godawul Gordo, rather than the player we once thought he might be after burning through the minors and excelling in his first major league season, as a 22-year-old in 2009. Furthermore, Beckham is currently stroking line drives on exactly one quarter of his batted balls. That's very good, and well above his career norms between 16 and 20 percent. He's also striking out marginally less than in previous horrible seasons, and that's always good news.
The bad news? Well, he isn't hitting for any power whatsoever. His .081 ISO is (dare I say) Barmesian. He isn't walking much, either. And if that line drive rate drops down closer to his career average, I would expect his batting average to do the same. Since that's the only place he can provide value right now, this is all very bad news. Nobody on the White Sox is going to drive him home much these days (besides Josh Phegley), and nobody will be on base for his singles to plate, either. (Again, besides Josh Phegley.)
It is worth noting that Beckham played one game at shortstop this week, and while that won't be a thing that continues (Alexei Ramirez had to leave the game early) if your league has one-game qualifiers for position eligibility, and Beckham can slot at short, his empty average will certainly play much better with that flexibility.
Recommendation: It's a bit unsatisfying, but my stance here hasn't changed much. Beckham remains firmly on my watch list, but he hasn't shown me nearly enough to turn me into a believer. The line drive rate is encouraging, but it's also the only thing propping up an otherwise completely useless fantasy profile.
A.J. Ellis | Los Angeles Dodgers | C | ESPN: 2.5 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 6 percent; CBS: 20 percent
YTD: .265/.356/.380 in 236 plate appearances
ZiPS projection: .260/.356/.370 in 417 plate appearances
Trying to finish on a positive note.
I'll admit Ellis popped onto my radar for this column because I noticed he was the only starting catcher (as per CBS' depth charts) who was unowned in my dynasty league. I've had poor success with catchers this season, as Welington Castillo, John Jaso and Derek Norris have been mixed levels of meh, so I went searching for someone undiscovered who might be able to help.
Ellis is not going to win any beauty pageants (in baseball sense, just go with it) but he is a steady performer who is playing a lot these days. His current line is basically exactly his career average (.267/.366/.385 in 985 career plate appearances). He walks (12.3 percent this year, 12.4 percent career), doesn't strike out too much (19.9 percent this year, 19.4 percent career), and hits for modest power (.115 ISO this year, 118 career).
He's also been getting the lion's share of playing time behind the dish, in an offense that could be poised for a very big second half. He won't blow your socks off (better?) but there's a lot to like, and you know what you're getting here.
Ultimately I decided he was too much like John Jaso, with fewer walks, more power, and better health, and while I like Jaso, I was looking for a bigger potential upgrade. So I traded for Buster Posey.
Recommendation: Do what I did and trade for Posey. Otherwise, hey man, consider A.J. Ellis! He does some things!
Posted by Jack Weiland at 3:09am
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