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THT's Fantasy Archives
Wednesday, September 25, 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
A few cloudy games today but no true weather threats.
Today is not the day to exceed your innings limit. The waiver wire is too thin.
Pitcher (to start): Robbie Erlin has been solid since returning to the rotation in late August. The soft-tossing lefty has to continue limiting walks to succeed with his merely adequate whiff rate and stuff. He'll pitch at Petco tomorrow against the Diamondbacks.
Ivan Nova is at 42 percent owned and will face the Wild Card bound Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays lead the Indians by only one game for hosting rights to the Wild Card game, so don't expect them to ease up off the throttle. They're also only two games ahead of the Rangers, who are currently on the outside looking in. As for Nova, he's coming off a brilliant outing against the Giants. He was struggling prior to that outing and he's been walking more batters recently.
Miguel Gonzalez is a fringy choice against the Blue Jays. He's a nice innings eater for a real major league team but not somebody to use in fantasy unless you must.
Dillon Gee is one of the top pitchers available tomorrow. He'll face a Brewers team that struggles offensively and is throwing a bad starting pitcher. The chance for a win is high.
Despite an excellent debut in which he struck out 45 percent of batters faced, David Hale has a pedestrian repertoire and should be expected to be adequate, like Erlin and Gonzalez. He'll face the Phillies in Atlanta. He'll probably be allowed to make a full start since he's not likely to join the playoff roster.
Zach McAllister is up there with Gee in terms of match-up quality. The Indians are in a desperate fight to reach the postseason. They're just one game behind Tampa to host the Wild Card game, but the Rangers are right on their tail. McAllister will be allowed to go deep if he's pitching well, but he'll also be on a short leash.
If you're using the Yahoo innings exploit today, Edinson Volquez and Andre Rienzo can be added to the list of starters. I recommend holding off for the end of the week, but I know not all owners have that option.
Pitcher (bum): Johnny Hellweg continues to look terrible. He escaped major damage in his last outing but still gave up seven hits and five walks over five innings. The walks in particular have been a huge problem for Hellweg so stack Mets hitters.
The Braves will probably rest a couple of their top hitters, but the match-up against Tyler Cloyd is still a good one. Aside from Colby Lewis, not too many right-handed pitchers get by on 86 mph fastballs.
Hitter (power): Danny Valencia will face Mark Buehrle.
Try Josh Satin, Lucas Duda, and maybe Andrew Brown against Hellweg.
Ryan Raburn and Drew Stubbs face Andrew Albers.
Hitter (speed): Put Eric Young Jr. at the top of your Mets wish list. He should work a couple of walks in this one.
Jordan Schafer could swipe a base or two if he starts.
Will Venable might be slipping back to the waiver wire in a few leagues as owners cycle over the last week.
Pitchers to come
Friday: It appears that Scott Kazmir and Corey Kluber have flipped days, so now Kluber is the top choice for Friday.
Saturday: Target Saturday for blasting over the innings cap. Kazmir, Charlie Morton, Yordano Ventura, Erik Johnson and Yusmeiro Petit are among the available pitchers.
Sunday: Sunday is also a good day for heavy streaming with Sonny Gray, Tanner Roark, Jose Quintana, John Lackey, Marco Estrada and Gerrit Cole penciled in as starters.
Manny Machado is due to miss only six to eight weeks, so owners in keeper leagues can breathe a sigh of relief. Now is a good time to try to acquire him as a keeper (if your league allows that sort of trading).
Posted by Brad Johnson at 6:46am
So we’ve come to this, fellow waiver wire brethren, the end of the 2013 fantasy season. It’s been a grand ride as we’ve surveyed the fantasy landscape all season long, digging for hidden jewels among the leftovers for a shot at padding our deep-league teams for a playoff run.
But now, as the regular season comes to an end, we’re at the point where there’s not much else to do but take stock of 2013 and look ahead for next year.
Continuing a run that Jack Weiland and I have put together, we’ll take a look today at four possible keeper candidates for deep leagues next year whom I highlighted earlier in the season. Next week, we’ll begin the process of tallying up all the winners and losers who’ve appeared in this column this season.
But that’s next week. For now, here are four hidden gems you may have picked up in 2013 who could help out as keepers for next season. (Apologies to Christian Yelich and Michael Wacha, both of whom were left out of these wrap-ups. I just figure that you don’t need to read about their keeper value here and that we should concentrate on more obscure players, ya dig?)
Leonys Martin | Texas Rangers | OF
YTD: 484 PA / .259 / .313 / .384 with 8 HR and 33 SB
Well, Martin fell a bit short of my optimism back in late June, when I wrote, “If he can keep the average in the .270-.280 range and mix in some home runs, well, it’d be hard not to call him a must-start in mixed leagues.” Still, there’s not a whole lot wrong with adding 33 steals to a fantasy roster, and in terms of upside, I’d like to remind everyone of the .323/.388/.503 line Martin compiled in the minors.
In terms of what went wrong in 2013, it’s important to keep in mind that Martin had a .745 OPS when July concluded, and it’s reasonable to consider that he simply fatigued down the stretch of his first full MLB season. (The acquisition of Alex Rios, along with getting bumped down to ninth in the Rangers’ batting order in September, probably didn’t help much, either.)
The walk/strikeout percentage split (5.8/20.7) ultimately fell short of ideal, but again, a look at his minor league numbers suggests Martin will make better contact as he gets his feet wet in the majors.
Assuming Rios and David Murphy return to the Rangers outfield next year, Martin, as he did early in 2013, could face a potential platoon situation and/or playing-time battle with Craig Gentry, though I’d think the chances of that are remote.
That being the case, Martin, who twice appeared on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list, could flourish at a hitter’s park as he enters his second full-time major league season. He already brings the steals, and even if the average and power climb a little bit, there’s no reason not to think that Martin will be a terrific late-round sleeper and already someone to think about as a keeper in deep leagues.
Nathan Eovaldi | Miami Marlins | SP
YTD: 100.1 IP / 3.50 ERA / 6.6 K/9 / 3.4 BB/9 with 4 wins
The final numbers for Eovaldi aren’t spectacular, but they do represent a step forward from 2012 for a guy once considered one of the Dodgers’ top pitching prospects and someone who missed the first two-and-a-half months of the season with biceps tendinitis. Eovaldi’s line wasn’t half bad, not when you consider his 3.66 FIP and solid 44.7 percent groundball rate, numbers that were verified with a reasonable .281 BABIP and 72.8 percent strand rate.
The strikeouts might be a bit disappointing for a guy who features a fastball that reaches the upper 90s, though his K/9 improved by more than half a batter compared to 2012, and his F-strike% improved a bit, as well. (Alas, the swinging strike rate, perhaps the most important peripheral associated with strikeout ability, did not climb.)
But perhaps some focus on Eovaldi’s secondary pitches (primarily a slider, but he also features a curveball and occasionally a change-up) during the offseason could sharpen his ability to miss bats.
Eovaldi definitely has a live arm, and the Marlins, who acquired the 23-year-old in the Hanley Ramirez trade last year, likely have no plans to move him out of the rotation. Yeah, the Marlins likely won’t be that much better than the 100-loss disaster of this year, so the wins might not jump high into the double digits, but I don’t think a 7.0 K/9 with a moderate WHIP and ERA is out of the question, making Eovaldi an intriguing sleeper for 2014.
Dillon Gee | New York Mets | SP
YTD: 193 IP / 3.54 ERA / 6.5 K/9 / 2.1 BB/9 with 12 wins
I had to get at least one Met in these keeper round-ups, right? Okay, I clearly didn’t, but I certainly wanted to, and with Jeremy Hefner’s arm heading to Tommy Johnville and Eric Young Jr.’s playing time in question for next year, Gee is not just the brightest Mets alum from this column, he’s an interesting keeper candidate for deep leagues after a solid 2013 campaign.
I say solid, not great, because Gee’s numbers aren’t spectacular, and a generous 78.9 percent strand rate, along with 24 home runs allowed in fewer than 200 innings (despite a league average 10.5 HR/FB rate) allowed for a not-great 4.02 FIP and identical xFIP. Meanwhile, the 1.28 WHIP owes heavily to the terrific walk rate, certainly not the fact that he allowed better than a base hit per inning.
But I do admire a guy who provided fantasy owners with a better than three-to-one walk-to-strikeout ratio, and Gee, pitching on a squad that ultimately will lose nearly 90 games, was dynamite in the second half, producing a 2.50 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 12 starts.
And the walk rate should count for something, given that it’s declined every year he’s been in the majors and is why Gee is the owner of a career 1.30 WHIP over 496.1 innings. A 9.5 SwStr% isn’t bad, either, after a 2012 season that saw him produce an 8.0 K/9 in roughly a half season before a blood clot in his shoulder shut him down.
No, Gee doesn’t have a terrific ceiling, but he should offer fantasy owners help in at least WHIP next year, with an uptick in his strikeouts and a drop in his ERA not being out of the question even if his strand rate reverts back to career levels. Assuming the Mets are a better team in 2014—cue audience laugh track—a 14-15 win season isn’t out of the question for Gee, making him a potentially useful rotation man in NL-only leagues and perhaps a deep mixed league or two.
Martin Perez | Texas Rangers | SP
YTD: 112 IP / 3.54 ERA / 5.7 K/9 / 2.7 BB/9 with 9 wins
Let’s end this capsule with the glass-is-half-empty side of things. Martin, just 22, benefited from a cushy 77.7 percent strand rate, shooting his FIP to 4.28. A 1.03 HR/9 is a bit high, also. Oh, and those strikeouts? You can’t feed a fantasy family on a less than 6.0 K/9.
But why carp? Perez, a five-time guest star on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list, was basically excellent for a guy who’s pitching in essentially his first major league season. (He made 12 appearances in 2012, totaling 38 innings.) After all, the walk rate was good, the 48 percent groundball rate was very good, and he held his own in Arlington, compiling a 3.07 ERA against a 1.41 WHIP.
In fact, since July 31, a span of 10 starts, Perez has gone 6-2 with a 2.97 ERA, producing a good 64 percent strike percentage and better than two-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio while emerging as a major reason why the Rangers are still in the wild card hunt as of this writing.
With a decent 9.3 SwStr%, I’m confident the strikeouts will rise. And even if Perez never emerges as a strikeout-per-inning fantasy demon, an ability to cap the walks and not lose his cool in the Texas heat means he’ll be, at worst, a serviceable fantasy starter who pitches for a team that wins ballgames.
Perez will only get better as he matures, and while he’s not a slam-dunk keeper, he’s close. And for a guy who likely will be touted as a terrific late-round pickup in mixed leagues next year, you could save yourself some time and keep him now in deeper mixed leagues.
Posted by Karl de Vries at 3:04am
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