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THT's Fantasy Archives
Monday, September 23, 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
Baseball is free and clear of rain today.
Zack Wheeler's been scratched, leaving you with Marco Estrada, Tanner Roark, Charlie Morton, Jose Quintana and Yordano Ventura.
Pitcher (to start): People have noticed Ubaldo Jimenez's superb second half—he's up to 60 percent owned. He's pitching like it's 2010 except his fastball is nearly five mph slower. He's matched up against the lowly White Sox.
Gerrit Cole is also 60 percent owned. The young righty has seemingly improved during his stay in Pittsburgh and his strikeout rate has spiked over his last three starts. His average fastball velocity of 96.1 mph is tops in the game among starting pitchers who have thrown 100 innings.
Many owners made the mistake of ignoring John Lackey this season and missed out on a core performer. He's only 55 percent owned heading into his game at Coors Field.
Michael Wacha is paired against the Nationals. While that isn't the easiest assignment, the Nats are all but eliminated from the postseason and may be ready to take their foot off the accelerator. He's only 30 percent owned now but expect him to be exposed as an early "sleeper."
The Royals will be James Paxton's easiest assignment to date. He's seen good results but a .180 BABIP is largely responsible for the success. In his small sample, he's been very ground ball dependent. His minor league numbers suggest that his strikeout numbers could increase.
Pitcher (bum): Freddy Garcia has successfully muddled through two starts for the Braves, but he'll need all his veteran wiles to get through each and every start—even against the Brewers.
Brad Peacock has been erratic this season, leading to a mixture of good and bad outings. Against the Rangers, the odds tilt towards a bad outing.
Scott Diamond has a difficult assignment against the Tigers. Diamond will never be a fantasy asset since he doesn't strike out many batters.
Even against the Marlins, Zach Miner isn't likely to go more than five innings and his middling arsenal is nothing to fear.
Hitter (power): Justin Maxwell is coming off a big night and will face the lefty Paxton tomorrow.
Get Christian Yelich in the game against Miner.
Ryan Raburn and Drew Stubbs haven't been getting it done lately, but they're still worth considering when facing lefties like Hector Santiago.
Hitter (speed): With Wade Miley on the hill for the Diamondbacks, Chris Denorfia will start.
Leonys Martin has received fewer recommendations in this column since moving back to hitting ninth. Against Peacock, he's worth considering.
Pitchers to come
Wednesday: Danny Salazar against the White Sox is the top choice of the day.
Thursday: Ivan Nova is scheduled against the Rays, but keep an eye on it since he's had some recent soreness. If the Yankees have a rough week, he could get skipped.
Friday: Friday's pick is Scott Kazmir against the Twins. Plan ahead for Friday because there isn't much out there.
Yesterday featured a wide range of minor news, but clearly the bee delay in Anaheim takes top billing.
Posted by Brad Johnson at 6:48am
Well, friends, I'm spent. Kaput. Tapped out. Running on empty.
You get the idea. These will be my last waiver picks of the season, and they're with an eye towards next spring. Later this week and into next week, I will recap my selections this year and tally up a win-loss record, and that will be my last Waiver Wire-related work of the season.
Before we dive in today, I would like to say thank you for reading this year, and thank you to the brain trust at THT Enterprises for letting me spin some baseball yarn here every week. It's truly been a pleasure, and at times a safe harbor during difficult times. So thanks, everyone. You rule, and I hope to join you again next year.
Now let's dig in.
Mike Zunino | Seattle Mariners | C
YTD: .211/.299/.299 in 167 plate appearances
ZiPS updated: N/A
Selected third overall in the 2012 draft, Zunino was sold as a player on the cusp of being ready for the big leagues with strong fundamentals. True to those reports, he made his way to Seattle in just his second professional season. He performed admirably, if not Mike Trout-ily.
In his first 45 games, Zunino walked at an impressive rate (9.6 percent) and managed to strike out in fewer than 30 percent of his plate appearances (24.6 to be exact). His power was lower than some had hoped—he posted an ISO of just .088—but there's hope on that front from Zunino's minor league sample.
In his 229 plate appearances this season at Triple-A, Zunino posted a .251 ISO, which was more than 100 percentage points better than the Pacific Coast League average.
Additionally, there's this, from Baseball America's preseason scouting report in its annual Prospect Handbook:
From a pure tools standpoint, Zunino doesn't have a single attribute that really wows evaluators. Power is his best tool and it's his only one that scouts grade as plus.Zunino played just well enough in his major league debut to warrant a strong shot at the full-time gig next spring. His ownership levels never surpassed 37 percent on CBS this year, so it's entirely possible he'll fly just below the hype radar and be a value pick next year.
Matt Joyce | Tampa Bay Rays | OF
YTD: .240/.335/.424 in 460 plate appearances
ZiPS updated: .240/.335/.425 in 484 plate appearances
It seems easy to be an anonymously good player in Tampa Bay. Yunel Escobar. Ben Zobrist. Desmond Jennings. Wil Myers. Chris Archer. Alex Cobb. All good players, none of whom meet the household-name threshold. Add Matt Joyce to that list.
The 29-year-old Rays outfielder might be a more valuable fantasy asset than he is in real life, but that hardly matters here. Poor defense has kept his WAR under two for the year, but offensively, Joyce is an undervalued player. He walks (career rate of 12.4 percent), doesn't strike out too much (18.5 percent career rate), hits for power (career .206 ISO), and won't sink you with an Adam Dunn-level batting average (career .251).
His home digs are not exactly hitter-friendly, unfortunately, but he is under team control for two more seasons, and he's exactly the kind of cheap, useful player that Tampa Bay covets.
So, there are pros and cons. But if Joyce seems like he's in the Rays' plans next spring (if they can stomach his defense, or decide to pencil him in at DH), then he's a player fantasy owners should know. He won't be drafted high or cost a lot of money, but when he's in the lineup, he will hit. This we know.
Corey Kluber | Cleveland Indians | SP
YTD: 9-5, 3.62 ERA in 136.2 innings pitched (22 starts)
ZiPS updated: 9-5, 3.68 ERA in 143 innings pitched (23 starts)
Baseball may have an offseason, but the Corey Kluber Society does not.
Kluber was possibly my best waiver pick of the year, right up until the time he hurt his middle finger and missed a month of play. His numbers this season speak for themselves: a 22.2 percent strikeout rate, 5.5 walk rate, 3.62 ERA, 3.22 FIP, and 3.13 xFIP.
His BABIP of .319 is anything but lucky, just as his HR/FB rate of 11.4 percent and strand rate of 73.5 percent both are fair. He induced groundballs at a good clip (45.7 percent). Basically what I said in May is still true:
If you did not know anything about Corey Kluber and then looked up his stats, you would probably think he's a player fantasy owners drool over. Instead, he's Corey Kluber.Despite his excellent numbers, Kluber's CBS ownership rate topped out at 64 percent. He may receive Marco Estrada type hype before drafts next spring, but it's also possible his injury and lack of name recognition will cause Kluber to fall. He is exactly the kind of undervalued starting pitcher who makes the strategy of drafting bats early and waiting on arms an advisable plan.
Draft him late next year, and smile knowingly when someone asks you, "Who?!?"
Posted by Jack Weiland at 3:05am
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