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THT's Fantasy Archives
Tuesday, September 10, 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.
Leave your playoff-related questions in the comments and I'll help as best I can.
Today’s weather watch
The pleasant weather looks like it will hold up for another day.
Today's a pretty typical day with a variety of options.
Pitcher (to start): Scott Kazmir will face the Royals in the early game tomorrow. He's 17 percent owned and has been showing great stuff all season long. His 4.17 ERA looks bad next to his 3.86 FIP and 3.58 xFIP. The story has been better fastball velocity (92.5 mph), a career best walk rate, and nearly one strikeout per inning.
After going through the numbers, it's hard not to determine that Yusmeiro Petit's numbers may be legitimate. He's showing an excellent walk rate and big swinging strike rate which has translated into plenty of strikeouts. Given his soft 88 mph fastball, I suspect that the league will adjust and the strikeouts will come down. He's also a fly ball pitcher, so home runs could be a problem. Nevertheless, an elite walk rate can take you a long way. He'll face the Rockies at home.
Zack Wheeler will be at home against the Nationals. Bryce Harper likely won't be back in the lineup, so that's another point in Wheeler's favor. Unfortunately, he's 48 percent owned, and almost certainly unavailable to those looking for playoff match-ups.
Sonny Gray has a nice pairing against the Twins. Gray's shown an excellent arrangement of basic peripherals including a high ground ball rate, good swinging strike rate, and good walk rate (4.00 K/BB ratio).
Pitcher (bum): Eric Stults versus Roy Halladay is an interesting pairing. Stults has underwhelming stuff but solid results while Halladay is still trying to fine-tune his mechanics. Both sides might be useful for streaming.
Lance Lynn has struggled over the past month. Four of those six bad starts featured a problem with walking batters. The Brewers are pretty weak offensively, but could benefit from some patience.
Brad Peacock versus Brandon Maurer is likely to be a slugfest, even if the two offenses involved aren't powerhouses. Maurer is not stretched out, since he's filling in for Felix Hernandez on short notice. It's likely to be a bullpen game for the Mariners.
Hitter (power): We have some repeats from yesterday. Dustin Ackley remains the hot hand in Seattle while Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders are colder hands.
Chris Carter once again has a nice match-up. You can also keep an eye on L.J. Hoes and Robbie Grossman.
Seth Smith, Brandon Moss, and Michael Choice (if he starts) all have a friendly match-up again.
Lucas Duda's worth another look against Dan Haren.
Danny Valencia has been swinging a hot bat against lefties this season and recently. He'll face Andy Pettitte tomorrow.
Hitter (speed): Will Venable has a chance to reach base against the suddenly erratic Halladay.
Eric Young Jr. is up to 35 percent owned, which is the point where I start to wonder why so many people are rostering him. He's not useful if he's eating a roster spot.
Pitchers to come
Thursday: I'm once again recommending Alex Wood despite a couple of bad outings in a row.
Friday: Danny Salazar is the best option on Friday even though the Indians are managing his workload.
Saturday: Gerrit Cole has a better combination of opponent and talent, but I'll recommend Michael Wacha since he's not too far behind and is more readily available.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 6:14am
R.I.P., my fantasy team.
The 2013 fantasy season ended for me Sunday night, and it ended in such a awesomely horrible way that I can't help but abuse the privilege that is writing here to tell you all about it. I play in a 20-team head-to-head points dynasty league in which we roster a max of 47 players per team. Last week was the opening round of the playoffs. I lost by 22 points. The following table is each pitcher's average output per start, and their output in my playoff loss:
As Kershaw and Holland both had two starts last week, that's 226.05 expected points, for which I actually received a whopping total of ... (drumroll) ... negative 20.8. Awesome!
All of this is to say goodbye and good riddance to the 2013 fantasy baseball season. Starting next week, Karl and I will begin our 2013 wrap-up coverage, including a full accounting of our performance this season, and some looks at players to target for 2014.
But for now, we will continue picking away. Let's dig in.
Yusmeiro Petit | San Francisco Giants| SP | ESPN: 17.9 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 21 percent; CBS: 33 percent
YTD: 3-0, 2.05 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched (three starts)
ZiPS updated: 3-0, 2.61 ERA in 35 IP (four starts)
Petit has always been a confounding case, and that is no different now. This is a guy who cruised through the lower minors (and even Double A, really), and has been a (more or less) dominant Triple-A pitcher for 11 seasons. (That's right, 11 seasons.) But therein lies the problem. He's spent 11 seasons at Triple-A because that minor league excellence has never traveled its way up to the big leagues.
Well, until his last start, that is. Petit came within a strike of throwing a perfect game for the Giants, before Eric Chavez dropped a liner in front of Hunter Pence. It was an impressive, perhaps unbelievable effort for a guy who entered the game with a 5.37 earned run average over the bits and pieces of major league experience that dot his six-year major league career. On his way through the minor leagues, scouting reports consistently said deception was a large part of his game, and that having success at higher levels would be exponentially more challenging since his pure stuff wasn't as vibrant as that of other top arms.
One game does not change that, nor does it change the vast history we've accumulated on Petit. By the same token, we cannot assume that his entire past history will necessarily be his preordained future. Petit has struck out 30 percent of the batters he's faced this year, and walked just four percent. He's also throwing fewer fastballs and more breaking stuff than he has in the past. Could this change have led to such a dramatic turnaround in his major league success? Probably not. It's very unlikely. But hey, maybe!
Recommendation: It's certainly unlikely that these changes have made Petit a new man almost overnight, but there is a chance,. Even if it's a small one, it's worth the risk at this late point in the season.
James Paxton | Seattle Mariners| SP | ESPN: 0.2 percent ownership; Yahoo!: 1 percent; CBS: 6 percent
YTD: 1-0, 1.50 ERA in one start
ZiPS updated: 1-1, 3.29 ERA in three starts
Last week, I featured a young Mariners arm making his major league debut for the Mariners. That worked out, uh, all right, with Taijuan Walker, so I'm going back to the well.
This week's young Mariners starter making his major league debut is James Paxton. This is what Baseball America had to say about the 24-year-old in its 2013 Prospect Handbook:
The development of his change-up will determine if he can be a No. 2 starter. His fastball/curveball combination also could make him a closer.So we have two takeaways from this.
1. All fantasy players should be watching for Paxton's change-up if they happen to take in one of his starts. It will likely make the difference between Paxton being a very useful fantasy asset now and in the future (a No. 2 starter) and one who is merely back of the roster filler or waiver wire fodder (a back end starter, or a bullpen arm).
2. There's significant upside here, and over the last few weeks, it may be worth it for owners in deep leagues to speculate on the talent.
Paxton's 2013 hasn't exactly set the world on fire, and he has less overall potential than Walker does. Then again, who doesn't? He's also older and presumably more ready for the game's biggest stage. Paxton won't come with the fanfare that Walker arrived with, but that doesn't win you leagues anyway.
Recommendation: At this stage of the season, in deep leagues, he's worth a shot. What have you got to lose? Besides, you know, everything?
Posted by Jack Weiland at 3:19am
Castellanos has always had an excellent hit tool, with good vision and discipline at the plate, but the power that scouts have been expecting didn’t show up in games until this year. In Triple-A, he clubbed 18 homers in 134 games, posting a .276/.343/.450 slash line, good enough for a .357 wOBA. His isolated power was the highest of his career, at .174.
As expected, given Leyland’s intentions to start him against lefties, Castellanos mashes left-handed pitching. This season in Triple-A, he put up an .831 on-base plus slugging percentage against left-handers. What’s interesting, however, is that he doesn’t exactly struggle against right-handers either, as he posted a .784 OPS against them.
The big difference in his splits is that he had a much higher on-base percentage against lefties (.404, compared to .328 against righties) and much more power against right-handers—16 of his 18 home runs this year in Triple-A came against righties, as well as 31 of his 37 doubles. To further illustrate the point, his slash line against lefties was .303/.402/.424, while he hit right-handers to the tune of .269/.328/.454. The drastic difference between his OBP and slugging percentage depending on whether he’s facing a righty or a lefty jumps off the page.
So what am I getting at here? It’s already been established that Castellanos should see regular playing time going forward against lefties, where he should provide a solid batting average and score plenty of runs in the Tigers’ potent offense. However, I could also see him stealing some starts away from Andy Dirks against right-handers.
Dirks has been better over the past month than he has been all year, posting a .329/.405/.486 line. However, his power is gap-only, as he has hit one home run in each of the last three months. If Leyland wants some more pop in the lineup against certain righties, Castellanos will be the guy. Furthermore, he can spell Miguel Cabrera at third base if the Tigers want to give Cabrera a day off to rest his lingering abdominal injury.
Castellanos was the No. 21 prospect in baseball for both Baseball America and MLB.com heading into 2013, and that was after he struggled to adjust to Double-A to end 2012 after a stellar half-season in High-A. This kid is absolutely one of the best hitting prospects in the game and is worth a flier if you need help at third base or in the outfield, depending on which site you play on. That said, he should gain outfield eligibility very soon in Yahoo and ESPN leagues, giving him even more value with positional flexibility.
Posted by Scott Strandberg at 3:13am
Recently the Supreme Court of Fantasy Judgment rendered a decision on a fantasy baseball case involving acts of collusion between two teams. Once the offending teams' actions were discovered by the league, the commissioner handed out some harsh penalties. One of the alleged offenders was given an opportunity to appeal the league's decree, and this served as the basis of the case made to Fantasy Judgment.
A rotisserie fantasy baseball league referred to as “GFBL” is a 10-team, head-to-head, mixed daily league hosted on the ESPN platform. The GFBL was formed in 2010 and is a keeper league where each team retains six players per year.
The GFBL is not governed by a written constitution. However, the league adheres to the rules and guidelines delineated on ESPN’s Fair Play and Conduct page. The relevant provisions of ESPN’s Fair Play and Conduct guidelines are as follows:
A: More than one team in the same league
The GFBL commissioner was alerted by a fellow league member about potential collusion between the teams known as Dance the Fox Trot and DJ Roomba. The owner who suspected the collusive activity stated that DJ Roomba was making consistent roster and lineup transactions except during match-ups against Dance the Fox Trot. Upon learning of this, the GFBL commissioner began investigating the allegations and corroborated them with evidence compiled from the league’s transaction logs.
During the first three weeks of the season, DJ Roomba did not make any roster or lineup changes and suffered in the standings as a result. Other league members began reminding and encouraging him to check his team and make appropriate moves.
The commissioner spoke with DJ Roomba about these allegations and he admitted that he had provided Dance the Fox Trot with access (including log-in ID and password) to his account in order to make roster changes.