Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
And here's the full roster.
Most Recent Comments
THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographs (4)
Flashes of brilliance: Introducing True Quality Starts (2)
THT Roundtable: How seriously do experts take mock drafts? (21)
Player-A-Day: Tim Lincecum (3)
Player-A-Day: Josmil Pinto (5)
All content on this site (including text, graphs, and any other original works), unless otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
THT's Fantasy Archives
Wednesday, August 21, 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
Baltimore has a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms at game time, but league-wide weather is looking promising.
The standard fare is available today, ranging from very good to merely solid.
Pitcher (to start): Tomorrow is not the day to stream. A lack of options forces me to point out Travis Wood against the Nationals. Wood is an interesting case as his peripherals do not back up his shiny 3.13 ERA. It is interesting to note that his .239 BABIP is similar to the .244 BABIP he posted in 2012, though I do not consider that information to be actionable. This is still a guy whose 4.43 xFIP should be taken as an expectation for future performance.
Jose Quintana is the guy to use today against the modest Royals lineup. Quintana does everything well but does not stand out in anyway, with the result being an average fantasy pitcher. Were he on a better team, he could be worth owning, but the White Sox's terrible run support hurts his odds of winning ballgames. He may actually be over-owned at 19 percent.
Adventurous owners can consider lefty J.A. Happ against the Yankees. As I've pointed out in the past, the Yankees are not good against southpaws.
Pitcher (bum): Paul Maholm returns from the disabled list in time to be spanked by the Cardinals. Or so I assume. He's opposed by Joe Kelly who has been dominant in recent outings for no discernible reason. While Kelly does feature some enviable cheddar, he also generates few whiffs.
Chad Bettis versus Kyle Kendrick is another game that could produce multiple crooked numbers.
The Yankees have TBA listed and it's not Ivan Nova.
Hitter (power): Brett Pill could once again see action with the Giants facing another lefty. Be aware that it's been a long time since he's started a game.
Justin Maxwell will get the start against Quintana.
Nolan Arenado and Corey Dickerson are worth a look against Kendrick.
Cody Asche is a lesser owned, lower output option.
Hitter (speed): You can also consider Charlie Blackmon against Kendrick.
Pitchers to come
Friday: It's interesting. I'm sticking with Todd Redmond against the Astros as the flavour du jour.
Saturday: Saturday does not look deep, with Hector Santiago the best available arm.
Sunday: Andrew Cashner and Tony Cingrani are the top two names I'm watching for Sunday.
Something about Alex Rodriguez...
In more important news, Cingrani left mid-start due to an on-going lower back strain. He expects to make his next start, but keep your eye on this. He's already succeeding in an unprecedented way, so I'm wary to use him at less than full strength—especially owners in redraft leagues.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 6:10am
Ah, late August, the time when fantasy owners either (a) gear up for the playoffs or (b) begin to tune out and hope for 2014. It’s also that period right before September call-ups, before future phenoms get their chance to crack big league rosters, and thus, leave us dumpster divers with a lack of super interesting options on the waiver wire.
But, never fear: In the topsy-turvy world of fringe fantasy talent, there are always a name or two to kick around, and in this case, two high-ceiling talents that just might bolster your squad, whatever your ultimate destiny in 2013 might be.
Jake Arrieta | Chicago Cubs | SP | 3 percent Yahoo ownership; 0 percent ESPN; 15 percent CBS
YTD: 36.2 IP / 4.91 ERA / 7.9 K/9 / 5.4 BB/9 with 2 wins
ZiPS updated: 62 IP / 4.91 ERA / 7.8 K/9 / 5.1 BB/9 with 3 wins
Who loves betting on players based on miniscule sample sizes? Well, nobody, though at this point in the season, those looking for pitching help in NL-only leagues certainly wouldn’t complain if they were picking up a guy with a big ceiling. In the case of Arrieta, 27, one start won’t serve to anoint him as a fantasy savior, but then again, he did just shut down the Cardinals’ vaunted offensive attack on Friday, limiting St. Louis to just two hits over seven shutout innings. That’s now two good starts for the former top prospect since he was traded from the Orioles to the Cubs, and hey, why not indulge in a little optimism at this point in the season, especially now that he has a rotation spot all to himself?
Well, there’s the control issue, to name one reason. Arrieta has maintained a roughly 4 BB/9 throughout his 371 career major league innings, and a career 3.8 BB/9 in the minors isn’t exactly Greg Maddux-like. That’s not good when you’re allowing nearly a hit per inning throughout both Triple-A and the majors this year, especially when you’ve repeatedly displayed problems at the major league level in holding runners on base (66.8 percent strand rate).
On the other hand, Arrieta will now be pitching in the NL Central, home to teams such as the Reds, Pirates and Brewers, the lineups of which, according to wRC+, are below league average. And while it might be a bit premature to crunch Arrieta’s 2013 pitch data—the guy has logged less than 40 innings this year—a glance at Texas Leaguers shows Arrieta relied far more on his sinker than his four-seam fastball over his past two starts, the former being a more effective choice for him in 2013, as per FanGraphs’ PITCHf/x values.
Who knows? Perhaps a change in scenery—and less pressure as 2013 comes to a close—will reveal a new Arrieta, similar to the one who appeared on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list twice. It’s not a bet on which to place high hopes, to be sure, but still, at least he offers upside at a cheap price.
Recommendation: I wouldn’t trust him just yet in mixed leagues, but NL-only owners might as well take a flier.
Jon Niese | New York Mets | SP | 35 percent Yahoo ownership; 30 percent ESPN; 44 percent CBS
YTD: 89 IP / 4.25 ERA / 6.4 K/9 / 3.5 BB/9 with 5 wins
ZiPS updated: 127 IP / 4.19 ERA / 6.6 K/9 / 3.3 BB/9 with 7 wins
Yeah, calling Niese a “high-ceiling” talent is a bit of a stretch. And yeah, he’s hardly the most under-the-radar talent available out there. But his ownership levels suggest that (a) owners in too many leagues have forgotten about the southpaw because (b) they’ve soured on him after a dreary start to the season.
But Niese’s early-season performances shouldn’t be held too much against him, as he pitched with a slight tear in his rotator cuff, which led to an unsightly 10.6 H/9 and a .293 opponents’ batting average. He says he’s completely healthy—as if he was going to say anything else—though he looked sharp in three minor league performances and has pitched decently in two starts since returning from the disabled list. (Though one of those starts resulted in four earned runs against the D-Backs, and another was against the Padres, so some skepticism is perfectly in order.)
In the past, Niese has looked the part of a blossoming 26-year-old hurler, who posted a 3.97 ERA with a 7.6 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 over the past three seasons. Yeah, the Mets are terrible, but Niese will be in the rotation for the rest of the year and offers mild help across the board. That might not be glamorous, but in the right situation, it could certainly be useful.
Recommendation: I’d pick him up in 14-team mixed leagues and above.
Posted by Karl de Vries at 3:05am
This is Page 1 of 1 THT Fantasy Focus pages