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THT's Fantasy Archives
Monday, September 02, 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.
Alex Wood was disappointingly terrible against the Marlins yesterday. Funny how baseball works that way.
Today’s weather watch
Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Atlanta may see isolated thunderstorms, while New York (AL) and Boston are fairly likely to see storms.
As discussed on Saturday, there are a few decent choices for today. Jose Quintana has a good match-up with the Yankees, but weather could interrupt that game. Charlie Morton will start against the lowly Brewers, but he's more of a mid-risk, mid-reward type of option. Danny Duffy's match-up with the Mariners would be great were he not paired against Felix Hernandez.
Pitcher (to start): Michael Wacha will be recalled to start against the Reds. While this particular outing isn't one to target, Wacha should remain the rotation if he pitches a decent game. You can expect him to post a healthy strikeout rate while limiting walks—not unlike column regulars Wood and Danny Salazar.
Gerrit Cole draws the Brewers match-up, although he remains highly owned at 47 percent. He's walked substantially fewer batters in the majors than he did at any other level, so be aware that his walk rate could spike over a batter per inning.
Erasmo Ramirez has settled down in his last three outings to look like the pitcher the fantasy community expected. He'll face the Royals tomorrow. His is another skill set built around generating a healthy number of whiffs while limiting walks.
With Jose Bautista out of the lineup, I'm somewhat comfortable recommending Wade Miley against the Blue Jays.
Pitcher (bum): Command continues to be the story with Ethan Martin, specifically a lack of command. In his brief time in the majors, he's walked close to six batters per nine innings (5.68 BB/9) and his ground ball rate is below 30 percent. He's a threat to allow base runners in bunches and home runs.
The Twins don't possess a threatening lineup, but it's only a matter of time before some team finally gets to Jarred Cosart. Don't be fooled by his shiny 1.59 ERA in 51 innings— that's an outcome that probably had less than a tenth of a percent chance of happening. Over his small sample, he's walked more batters than he's struck out, but he's allowed only 39 hits with the help of a .250 BABIP.
Robbie Erlin remains green at the major league level and strikes me as one of those guys who will take time to adjust. He did well against the Diamondbacks in his last outing, so a match-up against the Giants isn't an automatic slugfest.
Hitter (power): Michael Choice could get a start against lefty Martin Perez. Choice is a guy scouts love as a pure hitter. His power is yet to actualize, but he could contribute about 20 home runs per season in his prime. His stolen base numbers have declined throughout the minors to just one this season, so he's really only a four-category contributor at best. Playing time will likely be scarce in 2013.
Try five-category guy Christian Yelich against Edwin Jackson.
Hitter (speed): Rajai Davis sees a lefty in Miley.
A Todd Redmond start means Adam Eaton and Gerardo Parra can be deployed without reservation. Over the last 30 days, Eaton is showing a healthy roto slash of 18/2/11/3/.326.
Jordan Schafer is overdue for a recommendation. While his skill set is that of a backup outfielder, he's getting plenty of starts for the Braves and is running early and often.
Pitchers to come
Wednesday: Taijuan Walker heads an otherwise uninspired day.
Thursday: Sonny Gray draws the Astros on Thursday.
Friday: Marco Estrada is set to face the Cubs.
Neftali Feliz returned to the Rangers and could be a huge bullpen asset down the stretch and in the playoffs. There aren't likely to be any fantasy implications, though owners in keeper leagues may want to speculate upon him.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 6:36am
Reymond Fuentes (Ownership rates: Yahoo 0%, ESPN 0%, CBS 3%)
It’s quite difficult to comb through the late-season call-ups and find the guys who could actually contribute in fantasy; most of them are called up for bench depth and won’t make much of an impact. Fuentes, however, could give fantasy owners a nice boost.
The 22-year-old was acquired by the Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, along with Anthony Rizzo, Casey Kelly and Eric Patterson. Rizzo is now mashing home runs for the Cubs, Kelly is recovering from Tommy John surgery and Patterson has a hideous .547 OPS in Double-A this season in the Brewers system. That leaves Fuentes as the only player from the Gonzalez deal currently playing for San Diego.
A former first-round draft pick, Fuentes took a serious step backwards in his development last season, posting a .218/.301/.302 line in Double-A. This year, however, has been a completely different story. Fuentes absolutely destroyed Double-A and Triple-A pitching to the tune of a .330/.413/.448 slash line, and he was even better in Triple-A (1.006 OPS) than he was in Double-A (.837 OPS).
Fuentes doesn’t have much power, with just 21 home runs in 2,157 minor-league plate appearances, but he has developed tremendous on-base ability and he’s an excellent baserunner who has stolen at least 35 bases in all four of his full seasons. He could also be a doubles and triples machine if he can find the gaps in spacious Petco Park.
A left-handed hitter, Fuentes will likely be in the lineup only against righties, but he could be a nice fantasy platoon option with his speed and on-base skills. He’s flying so far under the radar right now because he’s barely played since being called up, but that doesn’t mean he won’t see significant playing time. The Padres just happened to face four consecutive left-handers shortly after Fuentes got the call.
Furthermore, he is reportedly an excellent center fielder, which is something the Padres don’t have elsewhere on their roster, with Cameron Maybin potentially done for the year with recurring knee problems. That means he’ll be in the lineup more often than not, despite having spent four straight games on the bench.
If he continues to get on base in the majors at a rate even close to what he did in the minors this year, Fuentes could provide great value down the stretch in NL-only and even deep mixed leagues. Due to his lack of playing time, he’s almost completely unowned right now, so he can probably be had for a zero-dollar FAAB bid.
If you’ve got an expendable roster spot and a need for speed, Fuentes just might be your guy. He may not have that shiny prospect status that he used to, but he has the potential to be a nice post-hype sleeper. Also, as a little fun fact to close it out, he's apparently Carlos Beltran's cousin:
Posted by Scott Strandberg at 3:26am
Are my eyes deceiving me, or does the calendar now read September? Could it be that the 2013 fantasy season, once so fresh and full of promise, is now fading into the sunset? Sadly, the answer is yes, as we’re at the point where the postseason is at hand and major league rosters are expanding to accommodate new players. But as the dog days of August came to a close, two once-heralded prospects have returned—one from injury, one from mediocrity—to lend a helping fantasy hand and present themselves as intriguing options for fantasy teams making their final push.
Danny Duffy | Kansas City Royals | SP | 9 percent Yahoo ownership; 4 percent ESPN; 27 percent CBS
YTD: 16.1 IP / 1.10 ERA / 9.4 K/9 / 2.8 BB/9 with 2 wins
ZiPS updated: 26 IP / 2.40 ERA / 8.9 K/9 / 3.2 BB/9 with 2 wins
Having just returned to the majors, Duffy is like a September call-up, but better, since he’s already got major league experience (and success). A former third-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft, Duffy blazed his way through the minors, compiling an excellent 10.6 K/9, 2.88 ERA and 1.153 WHIP over the course of 419 innings. Although he was still a bit raw when he reached the majors two years ago, he brought the strikeout ability (and mid-90s heater) with him, compiling a nearly 8 K/9 over his first 133 big league innings. All in all, the future looked bright for the southpaw as the 2012 season got underway.
Then the Tommy John surgery came.
Now, Duffy is back and looking extremely sharp for the still-playoff-hopeful Royals, vaporizing hitters at a better than strikeout-per-inning clip after posting three solid outings. In fact, Duffy hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two starts, including a six-inning, one-hit effort against the mighty Tigers on Aug. 16. Although the fastball velocity is down a tad since he returned, and he’s favoring his change-up a bit over his curveball, he’s still generating a healthy 11.6 percent swinging strike percentage and is generating first-strikes better than he had in his previous major league stint. (It should go without saying that these data are based on a tiny sample size.)
Add in an increased focus on keeping his cool out on the mound and a supporting cast that, at the very least, should make a run at playing .500 baseball or better for the rest of the season, and you have a true upside guy who can make a fantasy impact in the playoffs. Factor in two home starts in Week 23, one against the aforementioned Tigers and one against the punchless Mariners (a team that owns the lowest batting average against left-handers in the American League), and you shouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on the 24-year-old.
Recommendation: Duffy is good to go in standard mixed leagues, especially with two starts next week.
Dustin Ackley | Seattle Mariners | 2B / OF | 30 percent Yahoo ownership; 16 percent ESPN; 31 percent CBS
YTD: 341 PA / .258 / .308 / .350 with 3 HR and 2 SB
ZiPS updated: 438 PA / .256 / .310 / .354 with 5 HR and 3 SB
Remember how the second base class of 2011 was going to pump new blood into one of fantasy’s shallowest positions? Remember how the emergence of Ackley, Jason Kipnis and Jemile Weeks was going to give us a new generation of middle infield stars? Well, things haven’t turned out that way, with only Kipnis making good on his all-star potential while Jemile Weeks has spent the season down in Triple-A and Ackley being so useless that the former second overall pick in the 2009 draft was demoted to the minors in May.
But things have changed since then, as Ackley has quietly turned his season around, hitting .351 /.380 /.518 in the second half, with an impressive 1.017 OPS in August. Still just 25 years old, it’s possible that Ackley is just finding the confidence that made him one of Baseball America’s most prized prospects for two years straight, or perhaps a new batting stance is to credit for the resurgence. Regardless, Ackley’s hot streak comes with outfield eligibility (enough so that he’ll likely carry over the dual positions in most keeper leagues next year), which provides a much-needed boost to his value, since he offers little help in the home run or steals department.
But hey, a high batting average/on-base percentage never hurt anyone fantasy’s team, and Ackley’s stock, once so high, has fallen to such lows that he’s apparently been forgotten in many leagues. The season is winding down, but for those looking for a hot hand, Ackley’s cachet and recent success make him a worthy gamble in many leagues.
Recommendation: Shallower leagues may have better options available, but I think Ackley is worth grabbing in all 14-league mixed formats and beyond.
Posted by Karl de Vries at 3:17am
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