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
Final off-season thoughts (5)
California and Carolina League Awards (3)
Flashes of brilliance: Introducing True Quality Starts (4)
2011 Top 10 prospects: Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers (10)
THT Fantasy has moved to Rotographs (4)
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
Friday, August 30, 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
Games in Atlanta, Detroit, and Chicago (NL) have a low chance of thunderstorms.
Outside of Taijuan Walker, there aren't many options today.
Pitcher (to start): Ivan Nova is finally up to 45 percent, but he still should be owned in more leagues. A match-up against the Orioles isn't great, yet he's good enough to use against most lineups.
Zack Wheeler and Dan Haren square off in the next meeting of TDG regulars. Wheeler is at 48 percent owned while Haren is all the way up to 75 percent owned, so it's possible that neither pitcher is available.
Marco Estrada has been excellent since returning from the disabled list. He's generating plenty of whiffs while limiting the walks, just like he did last season. It's time to take off the kiddie gloves and roster him wherever possible. The downside is that the Brewers lack anything resembling an offense to support him, and the Angels aren't exactly bums.
Pitcher (bum): Scott Feldman has a difficult match-up with the Yankees. He's been more like his old self since going over to the American League, which isn't a good thing. The Yankees can mash mediocre righties like Feldman, so it's a good day to sit him.
Mike Pelfrey was "effectively wild" last week, but that just warns me to avoid future outings. The Rangers aren't the world-beaters they once were, but they still can put up some runs in Arlington.
Greg Reynolds will be given the difficult task of surviving Coors Field tomorrow.
Ryan Vogelsong is coming off two straight great outings. His velocity is still down three mph, so he's either learning to adjust or he's skating on thin ice. He faces the Diamondbacks.
Hitter (power): Ryan Ludwick has the platoon advantage against Jorge de la Rosa.
Nolan Arenado has continued to hit well despite an 18 percent ownership rate. You could also try Charlie Blackmon. He's an interesting real-life player but doesn't contribute much for fantasy purposes most days.
John Danks faces the Red Sox tomorrow, so Jonny Gomes will get to play again.
You can mass Astros against Joe Saunders. That includes Chris Carter, L.J. Hoes, and one below.
Hitter (speed): As promised, your Astro for speed is Jonathan Villar.
Adam Eaton and Gerardo Parra remain available in many leagues.
Surprisingly, Leonys Martin's ownership has dropped slightly despite a four-RBI game on the 28th. This will be his second great match-up in a row.
Pitchers to come
Sunday: Once again, the top pick for Sunday is a no-brainer with Alex Wood drawing the Marlins.
Monday: Danny Duffy currently looks like the top option on Monday. Charlie Morton might be a more stable, lower-upside choice.
Tuesday: Tuesday is looking shallow with Edwin Jackson the best option. He'll face the Marlins.
Miguel Cabrera suffered an apparent leg injury yesterday that later was described as shooting pain from the abdomen to the groin. Cabrera expects to be available to play today, although I'm not sure if fantasy owners should be pleased.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 7:39am
A brief scene from Wednesday's Red Sox-Orioles game, attended by yours truly:
Me, thinking to myself in the third inning: Oh, Manny Machado. Nice. Have I seen him in person yet? I don't think I have. Well this is awesome, isn't it? Why yes it is, self. This is awesome.So, that happened. The only saving grace from missing a chance to see Manny Machado go deep during his Age 20 season is the fact that I don't own him on any of my fantasy teams. If I did? I would have caused an epic scene, to be sure. Instead I just pouted for the next six innings, went home, and vented to the whole internet about it. The thing is, I feel better.
So let's dive into today's Wire, shall we?
Taijuan Walker | Seattle Mariners | SP | ESPN: 2.7 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 22 percent; CBS: 41 percent
YTD: N/A (MLB)
ZiPS preseason projection: 6-11, 4.89 ERA in 20 starts
After being selected 43rd overall as a high schooler in 2010, Walker has exploded onto the professional scene, posting consistently excellent numbers, particularly when accounting for his extreme relative youth. On Friday, he will take his considerable talent to the major leagues to debut against the hapless Astros. It remains to be seen how long Walker will remain with club, but he's worth adding in all leagues until he gets sent back down or shut down for the season. Since I'm not a scout, and his minor league numbers don't explode off the page until you account for his age relative to the leagues he's pitched in, I thought it might be fun and helpful to provide a smattering of quotes from past Baseball America Prospect Handbooks chronicling his path to tonight's game.
First, from 2011, after Walker made a brief debut during the 2010 Arizona Fall League:
Walker was known more as a shortstop and basketball forward prior to 2010. He averaged 21 points and 15 rebounds per game as a high school senior, with his dunking ability earning him the nickname "Sky Walker." [...] His fastball ranged from 91-95 mph in high school, and after he was shut down in his pro debut with shoulder stiffness, he returned in instructional league to sit at 95 and top out at 98 with heavy sink. His 12-to-6 curveball shows flashes of being a plus pitch, though he focused more on honing his changeup during instructional league.Then, in last year's edition:
Walker, who will be 19 for most of the 2012 season, may open the year at high Class A High Desert, which would be close to where he grew up. On the other hand, some club officials want to skip Walker straight to Double-A. The Mariners are already in good shape at the top of their rotation with Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda, but Walker profiles as another potential ace and could be in the big leagues by the end of 2013.Uh, good call by them. Good thing I'm leaving the analysis to the pros here. In this year's book, BA tempered the excitement, but only slightly.
He has electric stuff at times but stll needs to command it better. His 2012 stats may not show it, but Walker is one of the best pitching prospects in the game and a potential ace.Recommendation: That potential ace begins his journey to stardom today. Pick him up, tune in for his start, and enjoy the ride.
Marco Estrada | Milwaukee Brewers | SP | ESPN: 13.7 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 40 percent; CBS: 50 percent
YTD: 6-4, 4.44 ERA in 16 starts
ZiPS updated projection: 7-5, 4.44 ERA in 20 starts
Switching gears just a bit here. Estrada was a preseason sleeper favorite of many, including yours truly. (Two yours trulys in one column? Must be a Friday.) Most of that was based on strong strikeout and walk rates during 23 starts for the Brewers last summer, as the righty fanned 25.4 percent of the batters he faced, and walked just 5.2 percent. This season hasn't gone according to that plan, however, as Estrada struggled and then missed two months with a hamstring injury.
He returned in early August, though, and he's been stellar since coming back. In his first game back, he threw five scoreless innings against the Giants, striking out six and walking none. In his following three efforts, he offered up 19 innings, allowed just five runs (four of which were in one game), struck out 15 and walked three. That included an impressive gem against the Reds, where he went seven strong, didn't allow a run, struck out nine and walked two.
It seems safe to say he's healthy again, and it's possible he's ready to deliver on his considerable preseason hype. With the Brewers out of contention, and the rotation not exactly challening that of the Dodgers anytime soon, this looks like an investment worth making. I'm wary of his historically weak groundball rates, but the rest of his profile is too good to pass up right now.
Recommendation: Worth adding in mixed leagues down the stretch. Worth socking away as a preseason sleeper for next year again, as well.
Posted by Jack Weiland at 2:09am
This is Page 1 of 1 THT Fantasy Focus pages