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Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 8, Vol. 1 (2)
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Saturday, July 25, 2009
For 2006 1st overall pick Luke Hochevar, things were not looking good heading into July. The frustrating righty had a 4.96 ERA through eight starts, and almost as many walks (17) as strikeouts (18). Through four July starts however, Hochevar has struck out 30 batters—including a career-high 13 in last night's game against the Rangers—compared to just three walks. The improved control and command has shown in his last two starts in which he has given up just four runs in 13 innings, good for a 2.75 ERA.
Unowned in plenty of leagues, Hochevar is worth consideration to be added. I would not call him a must-add just yet because these strikeout numbers over his last two starts are not in line with what he has done during the rest of his pro career. In the low minors his K/9 rate was about a batter an inning. Then in Triple-A it fell to just under 7.00 and in the majors he has struck out a Ross Ohlendorf-esque five batters per nine innings. So bottom line, the strikeout numbers of late have come seemingly from nowhere.
For those in mid-to-deeper leagues with an available roster spot, it probably is worth it to bet that perhaps Hochevar has turned some corner and will continue to rack up the strikeouts going forward.
Posted by Paul Singman at 11:51pm
Friday, July 24, 2009
As you probably already know, Matt Holliday has been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for prospects Brett Wallace, Shane Peterson, and Clayton Mortensen. Cards fans are hoping this is not Mark Mulder Trade Part 2, and more like the Tim Hudson deal the A's made with the Braves three days earlier. Holliday is at least healthy (impressively played for Cards tonight, batted fourth behind Pujols, and went 4-for-5 with a double and a steal) so that is a good start.
From a fantasy perspective the trade is good for the two major pieces involved. Holliday gets a boost in value entering a much more impressive lineup and batting behind the best hitter in the world. I would say Pujols will benefit from Holliday's presence as well, but I am not sure we can expect Pujols' numbers to actually improve.
The key prospect the A's received in return, Brett Wallace, now has a clear path to the majors. Wallace is currently playing third base in Triple-A this year, however because of his 6-foot-1, 245 pound frame scouts think his eventual home will be first base. The Cardinals have EDIT:
Wallace projects as a high-average mid-power type—I've heard Billy Butler and Pablo Sandoval comparisons—so do not have to high expectations of him, at least not in his first couple of seasons. The power may develop further in the future, nobody can know for sure, but no one would be complaining with a .290, 15-20 home run third baseman. It seems the trick to his value long-term will be staying at third base and not moving over to first.
The two players hurt most by the trade are Colby Rasmus and Rick Ankiel, who both figure to lose playing time, though we will have to wait see which one loses more. Ankiel got the nod tonight in center, but that might not be the case going forward. Both are left-handed hitters by the way, so a righty/lefty platoon is not in the works.
Eric Patterson was called up to take Holliday's spot on the Oakland roster and got the start today in center, but I do not believe he will get most of the playing time. Rajai Davis and Ryan Sweeney I would think will platoon in center, Hairston will man left, and Travis Buck and later Aaron Cunningham may now be in line for some PT in right. The A's outfield picture is still muddy and most of these players are borderline fantasy-relevant—especially when splitting time—so I would not worry about how things shake out. Travis Buck, who is playing well in Triple-A right now, is one guy I would keep an eye on in deep leagues.
From a fantasy perspective, the other two players the A's received are pretty much irrelevant. If you are in a dynasty league and want to know who they are, I'll link to Evan's write-up of the trade again because he discusses the makeup of those two guys.
Posted by Paul Singman at 11:06pm
Thursday, July 23, 2009
In a relatively small transaction, the Indians have agreed to ship reliever Rafael Betancourt to the Rockies for a Single-A pitcher. As the fantasy player the question is, "Should I care?" To give a short answer: no, not really. Betancourt moves from one setup role to another and with the Rockies recent success, Huston Street is no longer a trade candidate, meaning Betancourt will not be closing games anytime soon unless injury strikes.
If anything Betancourt is hurt by the trade—as you would suspect for any pitcher moving to Coors—and the park could affect him more than it might other pitchers because he is primarily a flyball pitcher (career FB% rate of about 50 percent).
Posted by Paul Singman at 11:46pm
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Dave Cameron posted a great article today at USS Mariner about natural regression to the mean. It's nothing new, but it's certainly a topic that is vital for any successful fantasy owner. If you're unfamiliar with the topic, need a refresher, or simply want something interesting to read, head on over and check it out.
Posted by Derek Carty at 9:22pm
Monday, July 20, 2009
Texas closer Frank Francisco is on the DL again, this time with pneumonia. C.J. Wilson will therefore get the saves until Francisco returns, which could happen as early as Sunday.
Posted by Paul Singman at 6:16pm
The D-backs are 19 games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers and are looking to ship out veterans for prospects. It was Felipe Lopez' time to go on Sunday, when he was traded to the Brewers in exchange for minor leaguers Cole Gillespie and Roque Mercedes. The trade should not affect Lopez much since he will still bat lead off for the Brewers, however his runs totals might increase slightly since the Brewer lineup is superior to the Diamondbacks', but not by much.
Hurt most is Craig Counsell, who should really struggle to find at bats since Lopez will be taking over second base from him. The rest of the Brewers fighting for playing time at third base—namely Bill Hall, Mat Gamel, and Casey McGehee—are also negatively affected by the trade since Lopez is simply another body potentially limiting their playing time.
The likely replacement in the D-backs system for Lopez is Ryan Roberts, who offers a little speed and not much else. He should only be considered in NL-Only leagues and the deepest of mixed leagues where playing time itself is rare and has value.
Posted by Paul Singman at 12:00am
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Deciding whether Mat Latos, making his major league debut tonight, is right for your fantasy team? Here are some links for you to digest:
Fantasy Ball Junkie (personal blog of our own Eriq Gardner)
Jason Grey (ESPN Insider required)
First Inning Stats
My take? Well, Latos has only thrown 47 innings at Double-A and none at Triple-A, so a projection system would have a hard time recommending him. Jason Grey said "he may be a year or two away." Still, his numbers in the low minors were very impressive with K/9 rates near or above 9.00 at every stop (and sometimes above 11.0). This translated to a solid 8.8 K/9 at Double-A, and his control has been tremendous everywhere. His ground ball rates, however, have been all over the place (but league average at worst).
Scouts seem to like Latos a lot, and his PITCHf/x data from the Futures Game shows some promise. While we're dealing with very small sample sizes here, his fastball was blazing at 96+ MPH with great rise (9.2 inches). Baseball America calls his fastball "one of the best in baseball." A scout Jason Grey talked to called it "as filthy as I've seen". The data certainly makes it look like a good one.
He would definitely need at least one more good pitch to succeed in the majors, but he only threw one breaking ball during the game. It was classified as a curveball but was more likely his slider. It came in completely straight at 83 MPH and had a little downward movement. We have hardly seen enough to pass judgment on him, but we do know that Latos won't succeed by throwing all fastballs to major league hitters. He apparently also throws a two-seamer and changeup (and maybe a knuckleball), so it'll be interesting to see what the PITCHf/x data looks like after his first couple starts.
Overall, I'd say he needs to be picked up in all NL-only leagues. In mixed leagues, I'd probably pass unless you really need a high-variance pickup (and even then, I might wait for someone like O's pitcher Chris Tillman... more on him tomorrow, though). One more consideration is that Latos threw just 56 innings last year and is at 72.1 already this year. How many more innings will the Padres let him throw before they shut him down for the year?
Posted by Derek Carty at 2:27pm
Orlando Cabrera's 1-for-4 effort on Saturday snapped an impressive six game multi-hit streak he had going. The 34 year old shortstop played disappointingly through the first three months of his first season with the A's, finishing June with a .247 batting average, two home runs, and just two steals in six attempts. Now in July Cabrera has cranked his game up a notch (maybe two), batting .400 in the month so far with two home runs and most importantly six steals in as many tries. Cabrera will not provide much in terms of home runs but can hit for a respectable .280 average and steal a good amount of bases making him a solid fantasy option at shortstop for those in need of one.
Trade RumorsFrom MLB Trade Rumors
Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury Haven't Talked Extension
Yankees Notes: Kuroda, Bullpen, Adams
Poll: The Next 2012 First-Rounder To Be Called Up
Orioles To Promote Kevin Gausman
Quick Hits: White Sox, Reds, Red Sox, Phillies
NL East Notes: Phillies, Lee, Nationals, Mets
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