Results tagged ‘ MLB ’
Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses four pitchers who could help you in fantasy baseball this week.
Tim Collins, RP, Royals
There have been several relief pitchers this season who have so dominated in their role that they deserved being scooped up off the waiver wire, even before they were picking up saves. Three that come to mind are Aroldis Chapman, Ernesto Frieri, and Tyler Clippard. Next in line is Tim Collins, a 22-year-old southpaw who has dominated in the Royals bullpen this season.
While Jonathan Broxton has been a dominant reliever, Collins is a perfect 2-0 with a 2.17 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He is striking out about 1.5 batters per inning, which ranks amongst the leaders in baseball. Perhaps if Broxton is traded at the deadline or ends up injured, Collins would end up getting some save opportunities. This is an arm fantasy baseball managers should target.
Garrett Richards, SP, Angels
The Angels seem to always have a nice group of spot starters and this year is no different, as Garrett Richards provided a stellar seven innings last week against the Mariners. This time around, Richards, who is filling in for the injured Jered Weaver, takes on the Dodgers.
The former first-round pick did not dominate in the minors, but most big league clubs struggle against rookies in their first few starts because of a lack of a scouting report. Richards did show an ability to strikeout the opposition in the minor leagues and it carried out similarly in his first start this season in the majors. Expect big things in his second start as Matt Kemp remains on the DL for the Dodgers and the game comes at LA’s National League park.
Henderson Alvarez, SP, Blue Jays
As long as you are not looking for many strikeouts, Henderson Alvarez is a fine start, first against the Nationals this week and then against the Brewers next week. The 23-year-old boasts a solid 3.76 ERA and 1.28 WHIP despite pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark in the brutal AL East.
Alavrez had a mini slump in the last few weeks, but it came against impressive offenses such as the Rangers, White Sox, and Red Sox. The Nationals should not be such an issue, even with a designated hitter at their use. The Brewers will be the next foe and that comes at Milwaukee, which means Alvarez gets the benefit of throwing to the opposing pitcher. A pitcher with great command, Alvarez is a safe bet this week.
Nathan Eovaldi, SP, Dodgers
This 22-year-old has been a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers since he was drafted in the 11th round in 2008. Eovaldi has picked up plenty of K’s in both the minors and big leagues and calls home one of the more pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball. Though his record shows at 0-2, Eovaldi has pitched quite well with a .209 opposing average and 1.93 ERA. Amongst his three starts are one at Colorado and most recently, six shutout innings against the Mariners. Eovaldi is turning into a hot prospect and this may be your last chance to pick him up off the waiver wire.
For more fantasy baseball insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down the numbers of four players to explain why they are performing at the level that they are this season.
Sergio Romo, RP, Giants
With Santiago Casilla out due to injury, Romo finally got some glory, picking up two saves. Romo has been as good as anybody, with two two wins, two saves, and just one run allowed through 15+ innings of work. Casilla is bound to return as closer, but Romo is the rare middle reliever whose numbers are so dominant that he is worthy of a spot on your fantasy team. To gain a sense of his dominance, consider that the National League Whiff% average for relievers is 23%. Romo is by far the best in baseball with double that, a Whiff% of 46%.
Andrew Cashner, RP, Padres
Though there has not been much good this season for the San Diego Padres, Andrew Cashner has been exciting and there is now talk that the Padres may want to extend him into a starter. Cashner has been the hardest thrower in baseball this season with an average fastball of 98.8 MPH, which is faster than Henry Rodriguez and Aroldis Chapman. He remains a bit wild, so I would avoid Cashner as an investment as his 1.52 WHIP is one of the worst for a regular pitcher in baseball this season.
Chris Capuano, SP, Dodgers
After a fine bounce-back season for the Mets last year, Chris Capuano is now making the most out of his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Capuano is a former 18-game winner, so this is not exactly an unproven commodity. However, perhaps the cause for the southpaw’s success this season has been his control of the strike zone, particularly with first-pitch strikes. He currently ranks third in baseball in that statistic among starters with 67% of his pitches thrown for strikes on a 0-0 count. That ranks just behind Cliff Lee and Jordan Zimmerman, two of the better hurlers in baseball.
Melky Cabrera, OF, Giants
A late bloomer first with the Royals and now with the Giants, Melky Cabrera has become a legitimate star. One area in which he has shined brightest is against the off-speed pitch. After all, this is a hitter who bats .340, compared to the usual .223 average in the National League. In total, Cabrera is hitting .364 this season with a bit of pop, and don’t let the four home runs confuse you. He boasts a .538 slugging percentage with 24 extra-base hits along with nine stolen bases.
Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw answers questions from Twitter about managing fantasy baseball roster changes:
Question: I need to free up a roster spot. Should I drop Colby Lewis or Mat Latos? Who has better potential of bouncing back?
Answer: Colby Lewis doesn’t really need to bounce back. He is 4-4 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, which so far is beating expectations. He will give you a solid WHIP, comparatively high ERA due to the ballpark, and more than 12 wins for the Rangers. His weakness is that he gives up a lot of bombs. He has already allowed 14 home runs this season, including five in one game.
On the other hand, Reds hurler Mat Latoshas struggled a bit despite a 4-2 record. His 4.91 ERA and 1.40 WHIP suggest it’s been a tough transition to Cincinnati. Like Lewis, he has given up a ton of home runs — 12 so far this year. Each year, Latos’ walks and hits have gone up, but he now has to pitch in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati rather than in the pitcher haven Petco Park.
Ultimately, Colby Lewis is the safe bet since he does not allow many runners on base and has an incredible offense behind him, but Latos has greater potential because of his youth and past numbers. I’d try to trade Latos and keep Lewis.
Question: I really need a new backup catcher on my fantasy teams. Suzuki is struggling and Mauer is day-to-day right now. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario has been an excellent pickup. He hit his ninth home run Monday night and now has three in his last seven games with nine RBI during that stretch. If he’s still available, he’s the hitter to target. If he’s already been taken, Chris Iannetta will return soon for the Angels and is another good option. He offers a low average but solid on-base percentage and power. Finally, for the Nationals, Jesus Flores has some pop and also hits for the highest average of the bunch.
Question: Is it worth keeping Bryan LaHair in my outfield anymore? Dexter Fowler is available.
Answer: I would rather have Dexter Fowler than Bryan LaHair. However, dropping LaHair would be a mistake. Look to package the Cubs .300 power hitter for your roster’s weakness. Fowler is the complete package in mind, with more power than the speed you expect from him. LaHair is a fine hitter, but not nearly as well-rounded a fantasy performer.
For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com.
Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses three pitchers who you can look to for some production in fantasy baseball this week.
Jeremy Hefner, SP, Mets
The New York Mets are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now and the excellent pitching has been contagious, so much so that even little known rookie Jeremy Hefner has gotten into the action as a replacement for the injured Miguel Batista.
If you’re wondering whether Hefner will be able to take care of business this week, what you should pay attention to are two statistics. First the BB/9, because so far in Major League Baseball of all pitchers with at least 15 innings of work, Hefner has the best command walking just one batter in 17 innings of work. Next, a key difference between his struggles in the rain delay loss to the lowly Padres compared to the win over the rival Phillies was his ability to finish off batters with two strikes. The Padres went 6-12 against Hefner with two strikes while the Phillies were just 1-10. Hefner will be pitching for a spot in the Big Leagues, as Batista is returning from the DL and Chris Young is slotted to return to the Mets as well.
Chris Young, SP, Mets
One thing to note about Chris Young, the 6’9 hurler, is that when healthy he is effective. After a successful tenure with the Rangers and the Padres, Young got off to a fine start with the Mets last season, offering a 1-0 record with four starts with a 1.88 ERA. Young may have to be a little better this season, as the fly ball pitcher will have to respond to the fences being drawn in at Citi Field. However, there is cause for optimism as he’s enjoyed success even in Texas, and his first start comes at Washington, one of the more pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball. On the other hand, his second start may come at Yankee Stadium, so buyer beware.
Drew Smyly, SP, Tigers
Drew Smyly looks like a good bet this week as he gets two starts, the first coming at home against the Cleveland Indians. Smyly has come back to reality a bit in recent weeks, but the control is real, he just has to learn to keep the ball within the park. Also, after making four of his last five starts on the road, Smyly returns to the pitcher-friendly Comerica Park. The Indians are also coming back to earth, losing seven of their last nine games. Smyly’s second start this week comes at the pitcher-friendly Great American Ballpark, but at least there won’t be designated hitters involved.
For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com
BY ROB SHAW
When former Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran joined the Giants, he was a bit slow out of the gate, but by season’s end he hit .323 with a .551 following the trade. He was particularly hot in September, offering a .378 batting average. However, by then the Giants were no longer contenders and Beltran was an impending free agent.
While Beltran put together solid figures last season with 22 home runs and a .300 average, this is not the fantasy sensation of years passed when he could belt 40-plus home runs and swipe 40 bases. Beltran had just four steals last season and his run production was a bit low too with 84 RBI and 78 runs.
At 34 years old, Beltran is limited, but he can still offer some fantasy value. He now joins the Cardinals, which makes it the first time that he’s stepped out of a pitcher’s park for home games since he played with the Astros back in 2004.
Beltran will not replace Pujols in the lineup, but he can be a solid bat who offers 25 home runs, 90 RBI, and a .300 average. Of course, his age and injury-riddled past carry plenty of risk as well.
Last season was a season of collapses for many of the game’s most consistent players. While Hanley Ramirez and Adam Dunn highlight the list, the same can be said about veteran David DeJesus. The long-time outfielder for the Royals struggled in Oakland with the A’s.
DeJesus never was a fantasy star, but he did once score 101 runs in a season, belted 10-plus home runs twice, and hit better than .290 four times in his career. That’s why it was so shocking that he hit .240 in Oakland. The Coliseum certainly played a role, as his batting average dipped to .229 at home. On the other hand, playing on the road did not bring many advantages.
Despite DeJesus’ struggles under Billy Bean’s A’s, Theo Epstein remained interested and acquired him this off-season. Even in his worst career season, DeJesus reached base at a respectable .323 clip. At 32 years old, DeJesus is not going to experience a drastic turnaround, however, he should bounce back to a .280 average with solid run production. He will remain bettter in reality than fantasy.
It is very rare to call a 33-year-old outfielder a sleeper, but that is exactly the case for Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer. Sure, the veteran had some good moments with the Twins, blasting 32 home runs in 2009, driving in 109 RBI in 2006, and even swiping 11 bases last season. However, those figures all came while playing half of his games in a pitcher’s park.
This season Cuddyer will call home to Coors Field, one of the most notorious hitter’s parks in baseball history because of the altitude. Furthermore, he will be joined in the lineup by MVP candidates Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki after spending the last few seasons with injury-prone stars Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
The scouting report on Cuddyer is not to leave anything over the plate on the first pitch. Cuddyer ranks amongst the game’s best with a .450 average on first pitches. He is also a rare hitter that feasts against off-speed pitches (.310 average with 12 home runs).
Always solid, we expect Cuddyer to be stellar this season.
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Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
The fantasty season is not over for one of the biggest busts in the league Pedro Alvarez. The second overall pick of the 2008 draft, we expected big things out of the Vanderbilt alumnus, but instead, his average sits at just .211 with two home runs and 10 RBI. After an extended stay on the disabled list and then a month’s worth of at bats in the Minor Leagues, Alvarez is back. He will bat in the middle of the Pirates lineup and will have ever chance to succeed once again. The third base position is pretty shallow this season with talent, making fantasy managers quick to forgive players like Alvarez.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox
The man traded for Mark Teixeira a few years back is finally an everyday player in the Big Leagues. Just 26 years old, Salty is having his best season to date. His eight home runs are just one shy of his career-high and the same can be said of his 12 doubles. He is not the best defensive catcher in baseball, but he has been adequate and his respectable on base percentage with some pop makes him a dangerous bat in the Red Sox lineup.
Jeff Karstens, SP, Pirates
This former Yankees prospect is not just having a good season, he is having a Cy Young caliber season! At 28 years old, the right-handed finesse hurler boasts a 2.28 ERA with a stellar 1.04 WHIP. His lack of strikeouts may frustrate some fantasy managers, but Karstens has surrendered just 11 earned runs over his last 10 starts.
Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies
You have to wonder how many chances this guy will get but because of injuries and the struggles of his peers, Dexter Fowler is getting another shot to leadoff for the Rockies. Fowler is batting .342 since the All-Star break with 10 runs in 11 games with three steals. Just 25 years old, Fowler is too young to turn the page on for now.
James McDonald, SP, Pirates
There is no question about it, of all of the Pirates hurlers, James McDonald has the best stuff. Sure, he has some control issues, but his 92 strikeouts, seven wins, and 3.95 ERA will get your attention. A former top prospect with the Dodgers, McDonald has gone 11-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts. At 26 years old, McDonald should still have his best years ahead of him.
By Tommy Rancel //
The production from relief pitchers is volatile in nature. In addition to the uncertainty of the position, there are also health concerns in some bullpens. Just this spring we’ve seen a few closers (Brad Lidge and Brian Wilson) go down with injury. With all things considered: injury, ineffectiveness, fatigue, it is wise to keep one eye on the future when building a bullpen. That said, here are a few names to keep tabs on as we enter the 2011 season.
Among the top arms in the Rays’ system, McGee will complete the transformation from starter to reliever that began late last season. As a left-handed pitcher who can hit the high 90′s with his fastball, you can literally see the appeal of McGee as a late-inning option. While he struggled developing his secondary pitches as a starter, he can now focus on his fastball and slider as a reliever.
McGee pitched out of the Rays’ pen just eight times last season, but showed the strikeout stuff you want to see from a shutdown reliever. Bloomberg Sports’ projects him for 60 innings this season with nearly a strikeout per inning. If McGee’s stuff translates as expected, that number could be even higher. Tampa Bay will start the season with a closer-by-committee, although veterans Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta are likely to get the early ninth inning opportunities. Meanwhile, if McGee can get batters out on both sides of the plate, he could find himself as Joe Maddon’s high-leverage relief ace of choice.
Another former starter, Walden pitched exclusively in relief during the 2010 season. Surprisingly, his strikeout rate actually dipped as a reliever in the minors. Upon his late-season promotion to the majors, his K-rate spiked. In 15.1 innings with the big league club, Walden punched out 23 batters. That translates to a K/9 of 13/5. Like most young pitchers, Walden struggles with control and command. That said, his fastball can touch the triple digits and his slider is a decent second option. The interesting thing to watch is his strikeout rate going forward. If he is getting swings and misses in bunches, the walks will become more tolerable.
Fernando Rodney will begin the season as the Angels’ closer; however after rumored interest in several high-profiled relievers this winter, Los Angeles does not seemed to be married to Rodney in the ninth. If Rodney struggles, set-up man Kevin Jepsen could get a look, but Walden has the goods to be the guy at some point this year.
Like the others named above, Jansen is also transitioning to the bullpen. However, he is a converted catcher and not starting pitcher. He spent the first four seasons of his professional career as a catcher in the Dodgers’ system and was behind the plate for the Netherlands during 2009 World Baseball Classic. Jansen began the transation to the mound during the 2009 season. With a high-90′s fastball and a really good slider, it did not take him long to shoot up through the system. In fact, he bypassed the Triple-A level altogether.
He made his big league debut in late June and was a key piece in the bullpen going forward. In 27 innings of work he allowed just two earned runs (0.67) and racked up a ridiculous 41 strikeouts. The K/9 near 14.0 and BB/9 near 5.0 show the same wild, yet effective, approach exhibited by Carlos Marmol with the Cubs.
Unlike the Rays and Angels, the Dodgers have a very good closer in Jonathan Broxton. On the other hand, Broxton fell out of favor with the club last season and briefly lost his job as closer. Los Angeles also has another very good arm in Hong-Chih Kuo to close should Broxton falter. Jansen faces more obstacles than Walden or McGee, but has similar potential to become a true relief ace with time.
Even if McGee, Walden, and Jansen don’t rack up double-digit saves, the potential for high strikeouts make them attractive options in deep leagues and those that count holds.
By Tommy Rancel //
Names like Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum, and Felix Hernandez dominate the top tier of starting pitching in fantasy leagues. While getting a bonafide ace to anchor your rotation is important, filling the final few spots of your staff is also key, especially if you can find some gems in the later rounds. One way to find value late in the draft is targeting young, yet talented arms. Here are the top 5 projected youthful starters with an ADP of 150 or later.
Garcia is the latest disciple of St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. As a rookie, he finished with a 13-8 record and a ridiculous 2.70 ERA in 163.1 innings. Even with a strikeout to walk ratio of over 2.0 and a phenomenal groundball rate, he is not likely to produce another sub-3.00 ERA in 2010. That said, Bloomberg Sports’ projects him with another double-digit win season and a more than respectable ERA of 3.73.
Despite being just 21-years-old, Bumgarner will enter 2011 as a key member of the defending World Series Champions’ rotation. The young lefty went 7-6 in his first big league season with a nice round 3.00 ERA. He won’t provide you with a ton of strikeouts, but should top 10 wins with an ERA under 4.00.
Staying in the National League West, Jhoulys Chacin was a much better pitcher than his 9-11 record showed. The Rockies’ right-hander compiled a 3.28 ERA in his first full season while striking out more batters (138) than innings pitched (137.1). Like many other Colorado starters, Chacin’s ERA at home (3.98) was much higher than his road mark (2.44). Even with regression, he should still be an above-average starter who gets drafted after round 20.
James McDonald was stolen by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Dodgers in exchange for a handful of innings from Octavio Dotel. In 11 starts for the Pirates, he earned an ERA of 3.52 with a strong strikeout rate of 8.58. The Pirates may finish with another 90 losses, however, McDonald should provide solid numbers at the top of their rotation and value at the back end of fantasy ones.
Our lone American League representative is the most inexperienced member of the list. Jeremy Hellickson made just four starts for the Tampa Bay Rays late last season. That said, arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball goes into 2011 entrenched as the Rays’ fifth starter. Although his time with the club was brief, Hellickson showed his trademark control should easily transition to the big leagues. He’ll probably be limited to 175-185 innings, but Bloomberg Sports says those innings will be quality ones as his ERA projects to be under 4.0 (3.89).
Filling the front end of your rotation with the Halladay’s of the world is essential. But remember the Bumgarner types as you look for value from the SP4 and SP5 spots. All five of our pitchers have ADP’s in the triple-digits with the potential to provide double-digits in the win column.
By Tommy Rancel //
Players who offer power and speed are given premium price tags on both the real and fantasy levels. Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford will go within the top 50 picks of most leagues. If you are unable to land one of these primetime players, don’t worry. There are dual threats to be found even as we pass the 100th selection in most standard drafts.
Using Bloomberg Sports’ projection system, here are the top-5 power and speed sleepers with an average draft position of 100 or greater.
In his first full-season at the big league level, Drew Stubbs became one of the game’s true power and speed threats. He was one of just three major leaguers with at least 20 home runs and 30 steals. The other two players -Hanley Ramirez and Alex Rios- are being selected well before Stubbs. His batting average is rather pedestrian and he racked up a ton of strikeouts, but the potential for another 20/30 season is a steal in the double-digit rounds.
Andres Torres experienced a breakout season at the age of 32. In addition to playing a career-high 139 games, the outfielder posted good marks in both home runs (16) and steals (26). As the projected leadoff hitter for the defending world champions, Torres could provide similar results at the cost of a late-round tender.
On the other side of the age spectrum, Ian Desmond emerged as a rookie fantasy option at shortstop last season. After posting double-digits in both home runs and steals last season, Bloomberg Sports’ projects 15 home runs and 20 steals for the Nationals’ shortstop. Over the past three years, only five shortstops have hit those marks in the same season (Ramirez, Tulowitzki, Jeter, Rollins, Reyes).
Rounding out the list is a pair of players who regressed a bit in 2010. After finishing in the top-10 of MVP voting in 2009, Ben Zobrist hit just .238 with 10 home runs last year. The good news is Zobrist still got on-base regularly and stole 24 bases. Bloomberg Sports predicts Zobrist’s power will rebound to the 18-20 home run area with the potential for an equal number of steals if not more. The Rays are thinking about hitting the versatile player in the leadoff spot meaning the potential for runs scored also increases.
After his breakout season of 2009, the Mariners signed Franklin Gutierrez to a four-year extension. He rewarded the team with a near 40-point drop in batting average and an on-base percentage barely over .300. That said, he did hit 12 home runs and stole a career-high 25 bases in 2010. This year he is projected to put up similar numbers. That is far from OF1 production, but with an ADP in the 230′s, Gutierrez is worth the late-round pick.
Finding players that can give you value in multiple categories is the mark of a good fantasy baseball manager. Finding these players in the mid-to-late rounds is even better.
By Tommy Rancel //
When you think of power positions in baseball you immediately gravitate toward the corners. In fact, last season nine of the top-10 home run hitters had fantasy eligibility at first base, right field, third base or left field. These four positions produced 15 hitters with at least 30 home runs including league-leader Jose Bautista, who started at three corner positions (1B, 3B, RF) in 2010. While the bulk of major league power will continue to come from these positions, there is some power to be had up the middle as well.
The following list is comprised of players with middle of the field (2B, SS, C, CF) eligibility who are projected to hit at least 25 home runs in 2011 by Bloomberg Sports’ proprietary system.
Uggla has been a steady source of power from the second base position. He has hit at least 27 home runs in each of his five big league seasons and has topped 30 in each of the last four years. Although he changed uniforms this offseason, Uggla shouldn’t see much of a difference in home runs and is projected to top the 30 home run plateau for a fifth straight season.
Moving down the list, reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton and NL MVP candidate Hanley Ramirez come as no surprise. Both are ranked within the top-25 of all players according to Bloomberg Sports and will come off the board quickly on draft day.
While the list features some well-known names, there are two under-the-radar candidates among the bunch. After a breakout season in 2009, Aaron Hill hit just .206 with a .695 OPS last season. The good news is he still packed some punch and belted 26 home runs. His 62 home runs since 2009 are second behind Uggla (64) among second basemen. Bloomberg Sports’ projects him for another 27 home runs this year with a nice rebound in batting average as well.
The lone catcher on the list is Mike Napoli. Although he made a pit stop in Toronto, Napoli finds himself in a hitter-friendly environment with the Texas Rangers. He will spend some time at first base and DH, but Napoli’s value comes in his catcher eligibility. He led MLB catchers with 26 long balls last season and should have no trouble matching that number this year; especially in his new digs.