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THT's Fantasy Archives
Monday, August 19, 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.
Today’s weather watch
The weather looks lovely in today's baseball playing cities.
Today isn't the best day for pitcher streaming unless Danny Salazar is available to you.
The Blue Jays and Yankees meet for a doubleheader tomorrow, with the Yankees currently throwing TBA in both games.
Pitcher (to start): Rick Porcello is slightly unnerving to use as a fantasy starter due to his low strikeout totals and occasional implosions. Tomorrow he faces the Twins, so the match-up makes him worth pursuing.
Tony Cingrani continues to succeed with his limited repertoire. He'll face the Diamondbacks and Patrick Corbin, who has been unavailable for a long time now.
Brandon Beachy has a desirable match-up against the Mets. He's opposed by Zack Wheeler, who is usually worth a look. Just be careful against the hot-hitting Braves.
Dan Haren is the top pick for the day, facing Cubs lefty Chris Rusin. In recent starts, Haren has avoided the home run issues that plagued him earlier in the season. With the Cubs featuring such a light hitting lineup, that trend should continue.
Zach McAllister is a fringy choice against the Angels. He'll need to continue to avoid the long ball in order to provide value in this one.
Sonny Gray was dominant last time out and once again has a good match-up, this time against the Mariners. An injury to Bartolo Colon will help ensure that he holds a spot in the rotation.
Pitcher (bum): John Danks has struggled since the start of July. He's actually pitched decently altogether, with a career-best walk rate, but he's also allowed way too many home runs.
Ryan Vogelsong continues to show reduced velocity, so the Red Sox will be a challenge to defeat.
Mike Pelfrey has a tough assignment against the Tigers. This one could be ugly.
Along with the Yankees, the Rangers and Phillies still show TBA for tomorrow.
Hitter (power): Daniel Nava contributes more to average, runs and RBI, but he has a juicy match-up with Vogelsong.
Justin Maxwell was placed on the bereavement list last Friday, so I assume he will be back for tomorrow's match-up with Danks.
Daren Ruf is a good choice against the lefty Jorge de la Rosa.
Try Ryan Doumit and Oswaldo Arcia against Porcello.
You can try steady prospect Matt Davidson against Cingrani.
Hitter (speed): J.B. Shuck has a decent shot at a steal against McAllister.
I'm getting close to cutting the cord with Leonys Martin. He's up to 46 percent owned.
Pitchers to come
Wednesday: The first game listed is Alex Wood versus the Mets and that's really all that I need to see. I did go through the motions to confirm that he has the best match-up among available pitchers.
Thursday: Jose Quintana against the Royals remains the best choice for Thursday.
Friday: Martin Perez will face the lowly White Sox on Friday.
Mike Trout is experiencing a hamstring issue and may miss some time. Keep an eye on it.
In other news, Mets prospect Travis D'Arnaud is now expected to remain with the team. His performance may affect the club's offseason planning at the catcher position.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 6:09am
It’s crunch time in fantasy, and with that comes three states of mind for fantasy owners: those who are cruising atop their league standings and already looking ahead to the playoffs; those hopelessly blown out of the race and now existing purely to play spoiler; and those clawing their way to the postseason in the season’s final few weeks.
But regardless of one’s situation, there’s a need for replacement bodies as the injuries mount, so even if the waiver wire continues to become increasingly barren ahead of the September call-ups, there are still a few intriguing names sitting around who could provide a late-season boost.
Brayan Pena | Detroit Tigers | C | 2 percent Yahoo ownership; 3 percent ESPN; 5 percent CBS
YTD: 196 PA / .306 / .330 / .415 with 4 HR and 0 SB
ZiPS updated: 253 PA / .299 / .325 / .408 with 5 HR and 0 SB
Who is Brayan Pena?
If you said he’s a 31-year-old journeyman playing in his ninth year in the majors, you’d be right.
If you said he’s the dude taking over Detroit’s catching responsibilities while Alex Avila recovers from concussion symptoms, you’d also be right.
And if you said he might have some fantasy value because spare catchers are hard to find at this point in the season and Pena has been swinging a hot bat, well, you’d be a fantasy baseball owner.
By hot bat, I should elaborate. The Cuban backstop was hitting .421/.436/.579 in August entering yesterday’s action and has a 1.087 OPS since last Sunday, when Avila was placed on the seven-day concussion list. For the season, Pena’s numbers look pretty snazzy, thanks to a solid .306 batting average that’s stabilized with a reasonable BABIP and contact rate, and the fact that he plays in the mash clinic known as the Tigers lineup.
Of course, there’s a reason Pena has been essentially anonymous during his MLB tenure. He has just 18 home runs over his 1,150 career plate appearances and owns a meager .258/.293/.361 career slash line. This year, the switch-hitter’s .343 average against right-handers is no fewer than 80 points above his career average, and there’s no arguing the fact that Pena is just a backup catcher whose opportunity derives solely from an injury to a better player.
But you know what? Who cares? We’re at the point in the season where stop-gap fill-ins are critical as injuries pile up, and for the fantasy owners who plugged in Avila a couple of weeks ago thanks to his hot hitting, getting a guy who’s having a good season with regular playing time can make a big difference. Pena is the man behind the dish for the Tigers so long as Avila is in the abyss known as concussion recovery, and as long as he’s collecting hits, he might as well be used in fantasy.
Recommendation: Pena doesn’t have the capacity to turn one’s fantasy season around, but he’s worth a flier in deeper mixed leagues thanks to position scarcity.
Brett Oberholtzer | Houston Astros | SP | 6 percent Yahoo ownership; 8 percent ESPN; 15 percent CBS
YTD: 28 IP / 2.57 ERA / 5.8 K/9 / 1.3 BB/9 with 2 wins
ZiPS updated: 54 IP / 4.11 ERA / 5.8 K/9 / 2.2 BB/9 with 3 wins
It’s easy to dismiss a starter’s fantasy value when he pitches for the Houston Astros because, well, the Astros kind of stink and don’t bring home a lot of wins. In the case of Oberholtzer, however, a shift to the starting rotation from the bullpen late last month has resulted in four strong starts, including Sunday’s winning effort against the Angels.
Oberholtzer, 24, came up through the Braves organization but was swapped in the Michael Bourn deal, making his major league debut earlier this season. He’s shown an excellent ability to command the strike zone, evidenced by a 2.2 BB/9 in the minors, which should keep his WHIP and ERA at reasonable levels even as his 80-percent strand rate comes back down to earth.
Unfortunately, the southpaw struggled with the home run ball down on the farm and doesn’t get enough grounders for my taste, which could lead to problems the more he pitches at Minute Maid Park. And although his minor league numbers suggest he’ll improve the K/9 slightly, a fastball that hovers in the low 90s means we shouldn’t expect 7.0-plus K/9 production from him.
All of which is to say that, although Oberholtzer has been a nice find for fantasy owners and shouldn’t be written off just because of his uniform, he’s probably not much more than a depth starting pitcher in AL-only leagues and a fringe option in deeper mixed leagues.
Recommendation: Deeper mixed league material only.
Posted by Karl de Vries at 3:03am
Brett Anderson (Ownership rates: Yahoo 29%, ESPN 17.1%, CBS 36%)
Brett Anderson just cannot stay healthy. This much is clear by now. Since making 30 starts for Oakland in 2009, he has made a total of 43 major-league starts from 2010 through 2013. The 25-year-old lefty has spent most of this season on the disabled list yet again and hasn’t pitched in the majors since April.
When Anderson originally started his rehab assignment, the A’s were planning on bringing him back as a reliever. However, when Bartolo Colon hit the disabled list, Oakland reevaluated their plans and decided to stretch Anderson back out to be a starter.
Likely due to a combination of the injury and the initial reports of Anderson returning in a bullpen role, he is widely available in fantasy leagues. While he obviously is a constant injury risk, we’re late enough in the season that fantasy owners really don’t need him for long.
Anderson’s surface stats were less than impressive in April, with a 6.21 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 29 innings, but it is a very small sample with lots of noise in it. His strand rate was a career-low 58.4 percent, and he was on a career-high pace in BABIP (.341) and home-run-to-fly-ball ratio (14.3 percent). The resulting 3.94 FIP and 3.59 xFIP indicate that he wasn’t pitching nearly as poorly as it seemed.
Aside from his health, the one concern I have with Anderson right now is his lack of control this year. He walked 15 batters in his 29 innings in the majors and has struggled with free passes on his rehab assignment, as well. However, I’m going to trust his 2.36 career walks-per-nine-innings rate in 435 career major-league innings over an extremely small sample from 2013. Anderson always has had excellent command, and I believe he’ll figure it out.
Anderson is hardly ever healthy, but when he is, he’s an excellent fantasy commodity. He has a 3.74 ERA and 3.56 FIP in his career and a WHIP of 1.27. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but his 7.03 strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate isn’t low enough to hurt fantasy owners, either. Also, keep in mind that he pitches his home games in the pitcher’s paradise of O.co Coliseum.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin knows how fragile Anderson is and isn’t planning to keep him on a minor-league rehab assignment for long:
It’s likely that your waiver wire is pretty thin on quality starting pitchers this time of year. It’s also likely that Anderson is available in your league. If he is, pick him up and stash him on your disabled list. If he comes back at 100 percent health, he should provide good value down the stretch.
Posted by Scott Strandberg at 3:02am
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