Results tagged ‘ Rob Shaw ’
The total numbers are disappointing, 2 homers, 15 runs, 17 RBI, and a .267 AVG. On the other hand, he has hits in 16 of his last 18 games, has stolen six bases, and already has 5 doubles over the last 11 games. Keep in mind that Choo took a little while to bounce back after missing a large chunk of last season. However, at his best this is a rare 20-20 talent. This is a fine time to pick him up while his fantasy managers are keeping him glued to the bench.
In the past, the only thing keep Nelson Cruz down was his health. This season he has been an iron man and while his run production is solid with 24 runs and 23 RBI and his average is respectable at .274, so far the power has been limited with just four home runs. However, a closer look at the double-digit doubles tells me that maybe some of those shots simply have not left the yard, but come the summer in Texas, I think the ball will really start to fly off his bat. I still think 30 home runs is realistic, so go ahead and make the move for Cruz, though keep in mind that he is slowing down a bit on the base paths and he does have that injury-prone label.
Stolen bases have some serious value in fantasy leagues and for that reason alone you may be able to unload Drew Stubbs. Stubbs is a low average hitter with some pop and speed. He swiped 40 bases last season, which got a lot of attention, but also we saw a decline in home runs from 22 to 15. This season he only has three in comparison to his seven stolen bases. The positive is that he does score a lot of runs, which really is amazing when you consider that he strikes out a ton and rarely reaches base. Trade Stubbs while you can to someone desperate for some steals.
I have been known to lead my leagues on annual basis in saves despite not drafting closers until the middle or late rounds. I do this by picking up the pitchers who gain the promotion into the ninth inning because of either the struggles or health woes to the player ahead of them. Often it can result in excellence, such is the case with my drafting Aroldis Chapman in the final round of my draft. On the other hand, sometimes the closer I pick up implodes and doesn’t hold the gig for long. I fear that Cubs closer Rafael Dolis is of the latter. While I do like his youth at 24 years old and his live arm, I am very much in fear of his lack of strikeouts. This will not only hurt my fantasy team in that category, but also you typically like closers that can miss bats otherwise they can find themselves in trouble. With a 3.75 ERA and 2 blown saves already, I am selling on Dolis and keep in mind that Carlos Marmol will return from the DL and could end up earning the gig once again.
It usually turns out that the best arm in the bullpen ends up with the closer’s gig. It’s Darwinism and most recently played out in Cincinnati where Aroldis Chapman picked up what will likely be the first of many saves with a strong finish against the Yankees on Sunday. In Anaheim, we have seen Jordan Waldan lose the job after his early season struggles and southpaw Scott Downs then picked it up. I have no complaints with Downs, he was excellent last season with a 1.34 ERA and he has yet to surrender a single run this year in 12 innings. But in Firieri the Angels have a flame-thrower that has fanned 14 batters in 6.2 innings since he was acquired from the Padres. He’s worth picking up since he’ll give you some immediate value and that could soar down the line assuming he gets his hands on the ninth inning.
In his first taste of Big League action, Matt Adams did exactly what he’s done in the minors: rake. The 23-year-old top prospect in the Cardinals system may start the remainder of the season at first base with Lance Berkman possibly lost for the season due to a knee injury. The former 23rd round pick had never hit less than .300 in any of his seasons in the farm system. After blasting 32 home runs with a .300 last season at Double-A, he hammered nine with a .340 average before earning a promotion this season. This is a player worth using your waiver wire priority on, and feel free to up the ante if in an auction waiver wire.
If in need of a power bat, take a look at Dayan Viciedo. The White Sox top prospect got off to a tough start, but has really turned things around lately. On May 13, Viciedo’s batting average dipped below the Mendoza line down to .196. Since then he has enjoyed a seven game hit streak with four home runs and 10 RBI. He will kill you in leagues that consider on base percentage, as he has drawn just three walks all season. On the other hand, his strikeouts are in decline and the White sox even pushed him up to cleanup on Sunday with Paul Konerko out of the lineup. The White Sox know that they will need Viciedo to come up big this season if the team is going to compete, so look for the franchise to do everything to jumpstart their rising slugger.
This 22-year-old outfielder was a second round pick in 2008 and has taken some time to develop. Last season he had 36 steals, but very little power and horrible plate discipline while playing at Double-A. This year Avery started at Triple-A and played at an all-time high level. He drew a ton of walks, hit for power, and was a perfect 8 for 8 on the base paths. Avery has since been called up to the Big Leagues where he got his first Major League against the Yankees. A potential 5-tool talent with youth on his side, Avery has a shot at making an impact in the Big Leagues. He’ll hold down left-field until Nolan Reimold returns and at that point the Orioles will have to make a tough decision. Avery batted leadoff on Sunday for the Orioles and responded with two hits, a run scored, and his first Major League stolen base. He is now batting .312.
BY ROB SHAW
The biggest surprise in baseball could very well be the Baltimore Orioles and what is most shocking is that the success is not a result of the offense as much as it is the pitching. Let’s take a look at the three over-performing hurlers to determine whether or not the team’s success is sustainable.
Jake Arrieta is seemingly an innings eater who is in the prime of his career. He does not have much control, he is not a strikeout artist, and he surrenders too many home runs. His season got off to a great start with a 7-inning two-hit gem against a weak Minnesota offense. Since then, he has been quite ordinary. That’s what fantasy managers should expect going forward, as Arrieta epitomizes the average pitcher.
Tommy Hunter is a far more interesting pitcher. The Orioles hurler had some success in 2010 with the Rangers, picking up a 13-4 record with a 3.73 ERA. Hunter is not a strikeout artist, nor does he try to be one. The big right-hander makes a living keeping his defense busy. So far, Hunter has been a bit uneven with two gems that resulted in a combined one earned run. In the other two starts he surrendered a combined six home runs. Fantasy managers will and should pass on his services since he does not rack up the K’s, but he’s been a winner so far in his career and should be a solid middle of the rotation hurler for the O’s.
Jason Hammel is looking like a star in Baltimore. Now that he escaped Colorado, the air is a little bit thicker and the ball is finding gloves in the field. Additionally, the K’s are coming twice as frequently as last season. Part of the reason for the sudden success is the addition of a new pitch to the arsenal. Hammel now throws a sinker and he is getting a lot of ground balls with the new pitch. The question is whether this type of success is sustainable or if a new scouting report will allow the hitters to make adjustments. Considering he is already 29 years old and has been in the leagues for several years, it is unlikely a radical change will unfold this late in his career.
The Orioles do have some stars in the lineup as Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters should all be in their prime. The starting rotation is another matter and the problem here is that the team is loaded with overachieving middle of the rotation hurlers. It is very unlikely that they will be able to sustain this success.
For more baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com
BY ROB SHAW
Bloomberg Sports Host Julie Alexandria is joined by Bloomberg Sports Analyst Rob Shaw to break down an expert’s fantasy baseball draft. The draft, which included fantasy experts from CBS, Yahoo!, and ESPN was a 28-round draft that consisted of additional positions such as Middle Infielder, Corner Infielder, and five outfielder positions. Additionally, the league includes more advanced statistics such as OBP and slugging rather than the typical batting average.
Here’s a look at the first nine picks by Shaw:
1) Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
2) Roy Halladay, Phillies
3) Cliff Lee, Phillies
4) Eric Hosmer, Royals
5) Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
6) Adam Jones, Orioles
7) Howie Kendrick, Angels
8) Drew Stubbs, Reds
9) Derek Jeter, Yankees
Picking up with the 10th round pick, I drafted Josh Johnson, who similar to Stephen Strasburg has the ability to dominate on the hill, while also carrying serious health concerns. Again, having both Halladay and Lee as durable aces on his staff allows for these high upside gambles. The best case scenario would be incredible with Halladay, Lee, Strasburg, and Johnson all on the team.
Speaking of gambles, in the 11th round I took a chance that Adam Dunn will bounce back from one of the worst all-time seasons in fantasy baseball. Dunn has extra upside in this league as he is known for his high on base percentage as well as his slugging. Immediately after the draft I even received two offers for Dunn.
In the 12th round I drafted Danny Espinosa. There are concerns that he’s a free swinger who lacks consistency and will hit for a low average. On the other hand, he has a great combination of power and speed for a middle infielder. Plus, as a sophomore, it is rational to expect significant improvement this season.
I opted for a steady option in the 13th round drafting Nick Markakis. It is clear that his power will never materialize into 30-plus home runs, but he does reach base consistently and has some speed and pop too. Considering all the risks I’ve taken, this is a pick I had
The 14th round was a disaster for me. This league requires that we start two catchers and I thought Salvador Perez was a fine hitter with decent run production. Alas, he is injured and is expected to miss the first few months of the season. I will have to find an option off the waiver wire. Josh Thole, though limited in power, may be the safe bet since he will start and does have a respectable OBP.
I finally deployed by strategy to pick up closers in the later rounds with the selection of Sergio Santos. The hard-thrower gets a ton of strikeouts and should pick up 30-plus saves in Toronto. I followed with Joe Nathan in the following round. He dominated late last season and should have plenty of save opportunities with the Rangers.
I picked up my second catcher in the following round with Chris Iannetta. I see him as a potential Mike Napoli-type slugger who at best can slam 20 bombs with a .250 average. He does offer a nice OBP, which is rare for a catcher. Maybe he’ll even surprise me the way Napoli did last season on my fantasy team.
I grabbed another power bat in the 18th round with Edwin Encarnacion. He was tremendous in the second half of last season, seemingly changing his approach at the plate to become more of a patient hitter. The Blue Jays likely won’t tolerate another one of his trademark slow starts, so hopefully, this is the year that he puts it all together.
For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com.
Follow us on Twitter: @BloombergSports @RobShawSports @MicheleSteele
The Mets free fall has begun, a few months later than most baseball analysts expected, but the team is starting to fall on hard times now that they have traded All-Star Carlos Beltran and closer Francisco Rodriguez. The team has also lost their two best hitters this season to injuries in Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy. While Reyes is expected to return at the end of the month there is no guarantee it will stop the bleeding. The team has lost six of its last seven and the Mets now sit four games under .500.
One piece of good news that has recently unfolded was a personal milestone from a very unlikely Met. Jason Isringhausen’s career started with the Mets in a cloud of hope as a part of Generation K with Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson.
Izzy went 9-2 in his first season with the Mets with a stellar 2.81 ERA. He was immediately compared to Dwight Gooden and Tom Seaver, the two best home grown Mets aces in franchise history. Of course, the bottom then fell out as injuries took their toll on all three members of Generation K. Izzy went 9-19 in his next three seasons with the Mets before getting dealt to the Oakland A’s for Billy Taylor.
Izzy was moved to the bullpen where he went on to dominate for the next eight seasons. He won a World Series, picked up a career-high 47 saves in 2004, and dismissed his legacy of being a bust. However, that wasn’t enough for the Mets 44th round pick in the 1991 draft. He had more to prove.
Izzy returned to the Mets this off-season with absolutely no idea whether he would ever even make the roster. “I had no idea… nobody knew what was going to happen,” said Isringhausen after the recent home stand. “I just try to go about my business the right way and help the team anyway I can and try to get outs when they call on me.” Izzy has certainly handled his job the right way. He has offered some wisdom for the younger pitchers and offered some brilliant work out of the bullpen while doing so. However, the big opportunity did not come until days after the All-Star break when the Mets announced they had dealt their star closer K-Rod to the Brewers.
Since that transaction, Izzy has returned to his old role of closer. In 12 appearances, Izzy has picked up two wins and seven saves. The seventh save, which took place on August 15th was the 300th of his career. It’s been an incredible ride for the soon-to-be 38-year-old hurler. He returned to where he failed and has been a pleasant surprise.
Unfortunately for Isringhausen, reality will now set in. With the Mets out of contention for a spot in the post-season, the team is looking towards the future and they will turn to flamethrower Bobby Parnell for ninth inning duties. Izzy, a true professional, has been one of Parnell’s biggest supporters even during his recent struggles. “It won’t be his last rough spot either… he’s got the stuff to do it… You can take care of the little things and the rest kind of falls in place.”
The young bust is now a wily veteran who has redeemed himself in the eyes of Mets fans. Whether he gets another save or not for the rest of his career, Isringhausen has accomplished what he set out to do. He went about his business the right way and got outs when needed. However, his lasting contribution may be the professionalism that he brought to the clubhouse and the lessons that he provided to a new a new generation of Mets hurlers. Izzy did alright as a Mets hurler.
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Ivan Nova, SP, Yankees
If you’re wondering how a 24-year-old hurler on the Yankees can have an 11-4 record and 3.85 ERA and still find himself on the waiver wire, I have your answer. Just check out the 1.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Nova has had some things go his way this season such as solid run support and an uncanny ability to escape jams. Regardless, Nova has won seven straight decisions and has allowed as many as four runs just twice in his last eight starts. As long as you can deal without the K’s and a pretty high WHIP, Nova is not a bad pickup.
Jose Constanza, OF, Braves
If you’re curious why the Braves are suddenly sitting mega prospect and their everyday right-fielder Jason Heyward, there are two reasons. The first is that Heyward is struggling with just a .219 average and 30 RBI. The other reason is that the little-known and late-blooming Jose Constanza is hitting .382 with 13 runs scored. The 27-year-old is a speedster with little to no power. He swiped 23 bags with a .312 average before the call to the Majors this season. Constanza is nothing more than a hot bat who is stealing at bats away from the future of the franchise. Then again, we may have said the same thing about Jeff Francouer back in the day.
Mike Carp, 1B, Mariners
While top prospect Justin Smoak has dealt with his ups and downs and most recently a broken nose, Mike Carp has shined bright with a .320 average, four home runs, and 24 RBI in 38 games. Carp was acquired by the Mariners for closer JJ Putz a few years back from the Mets. He blasted 29 home runs at Triple-A last season, but hit just .257. This year, he blasted 21 home runs in 66 games while hitting .343. In other words, Carp has earned a serious look in the Big Leagues, and at 25-years old, he will get his chance for the remainder of the season. Feel free to take a look in fantasy leagues, though as is the case for any hitter that plays half of his games in Safeco, the odds are against him.
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Blue Jays
Try explaining this, in his first 70 games, Edwin Encarnacion reached base at a rate of 28%. Since the All-Star break, Encarnacion has reached base 47% of the time. What gives? Well, we always knew that the Blue Jays slugger was one of the streakiest hitters in baseball. He also has a knack for big second halves. The 28-year-old corner infielder is also playing for his career now that mega prospect Brett Lawrie has been called up. The good news is that he remains young enough for the Blue Jays to provide him with regular at bats. So Encarnacion will have his opportunity to win over a spot for next season’s club. As far as potential, Encarnacion has plenty of it. He blasted 26 home runs back in 2008 and 21 last season in just 332 at bats.
Rafael Betancourt, RP, Rockies
Finally some noise from the closer report, the 36-year-old Rafael Betancourt will take over for the recently injury Huston Street. The last time that Betancourt allowed an earned run was July 6th, just before the All-Star break. Betancourt has nailed down one save over the last week and his 58:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the season ranks amongst the best in baseball. Street will likely return at the end of the month, but if he’s out longer than that and the Rockies continue to struggle, you have to think to Rex Brothers, who at 24-years old is supposed to be the closer of the future, will get some save opportunities.
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It seems like the baseball world is just waiting for the Mets to finally fly its white flag. It is clear that at 19 games behind the Phillies in the NL East and more than 10 games behind the Braves for the Wild Card, there is no real shot at making the postseason. Nonetheless, the Mets have played extremely well on the road, keeping them within .500 through 117 games into the season.
The tide may have finally turned in recent days. The Mets fell twice to the last-place Padres at home and will now have to take on the first place Diamondbacks on the road this weekend.
It’s also the way that the Mets have fallen that hurts the most. On Wednesday, a well-pitched game by Jon Niese was wasted thanks in large part to shoddy defensive by 21-year-old shortstop Ruben Tejada. The only reason Tejada was even in the field was the most recent hamstring injury to star shortstop Jose Reyes.
One positive that Mets fans can focus on is the continued success of rookie Lucas Duda. The 6’4, 254 lbs. slugger drove in four RBI in the four-game series with seven hits. Though his season statistics are solid with three home runs, three triples, 12 doubles, and a .279 average through 62 games, his teammate Justin Turner tells us that we have not seen anything yet. “When he gets into a hot streak, the ball just sails over the fence in bunches,” said Turner, who played with Duda in the Minor Leagues.
Despite the fun name and slugger’s role, Duda is soft-spoken and modest, though his confidence shines through, “It will come.” he says. “The more comfortable I get the better I’ll perform.” Duda has good reason to be confident. He is hitting .348 since the All-Star break with three home runs and a .427 OBP.
While Duda is playing first base in place of the injured Ike Davis, his future home for the Mets will likely be in the outfield. After all, the Mets have no shortage of first basemen with both Davis and Daniel Murphy both posting big numbers before each landed on the DL with season-ending injuries.
As usual, it is anything but easy to be a Mets fan. However, there is some good news as the season crawls to an end. Both Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda look like keepers, though finding a position for each will be a challenge. Jose Reyes seems happy to be with the Mets and could end up extending this off-season in a long-term deal. Jason Bay has progressed a bit from his early struggles, and even Justin Turner may be a short-term fix at second base.
The Mets still have plenty of issues to sort out. They could use another big arm in the rotation even while assuming Johan Santana returns as a front of the rotation hurler. Bobby Parnell does not look like a closer. Then there is the gaping hole in centerfield that Angel Pagan has not been able to fill this season.
For those who prefer the glass half full, consider that the Mets have lost their first baseman and their backup first baseman to injuries. David Wright and Jose Reyes have both spent weeks on the disabled list. Johan Santana has not thrown a single pitch for the Mets this season. Jason Bay and Angel Pagan are having down seasons. The team traded away its best all-around hitter and its ace closer, and yet they sit just one game under .500. In other words, for Mets fans there is just enough positive to still believe.
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Brett Lawrie, 2B, Blue Jays
Exciting times in Toronto right now as the top prospect, Brett Lawrie, a Canadian himself, has finally made his Major League debut. In three games, Lawrie has racked up five hits including his first home run on Sunday in a 7-2 win over the Orioles. Just 21-years old, Lawrie is the real deal. He had 18 home runs with a .353 average at Triple-A after racking up 16 triples and 30 steals at Double-A last season. Acquired for Shaun Marcum in the off-season, Lawrie is a definite pick up, and likely a keeper in all fantasy leagues.
Jed Lowrie, SS, Red Sox
A personal favorite of mine early in the season, Jed Lowrie’s production slipped a great deal before missing a few months because of a shoulder injury. Now when he returns things won’t be any easier, as the Red Sox have acquired Mike Aviles and Marco Scutaro has played very well recently. Nonetheless, Lowrie does deliver a great deal of position eligibility and he does have some pop to his bat. I would only pick him up if you’re looking for depth as Lowrie will be relegated to part-time duties for the remainder of the season.
Eric Young, 2B, Rockies
We talk about him every few months because of the crazy potential he offers, and while he has yet to stick as an everyday player, the 26-year-old Eric Young is getting another shot and so far so good. Riding a seven game hit streak, Young has raised his batting average from .212 to .245. He has five steals over his last nine games and has been scoring runs as well. The Rockies are committed to Dexter Fowler and Eric Young at the top of the lineup, kind of like the Marlins old championship team that had Edgar Renteria and Luis Castillo. We’ll see if this works out for them, as there is little power in this combo with Young delivering just two extra base hits the entire season.
Johnny Giaviotella, 2B, Royals
This is the reason the Royal did away with Mike Aviles. Giaviotella is a former second round pick out of New Orleans who is off to a fine start in the Big Leagues with five hits including a home run through his first three games of his career. Giaviotella is the type of player who can offer a little bit of everything. He compares well to Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick. Giaviotella had nine home runs with nine steals at Triple-A this season, and most impressive was his .338 average and a .390 on base percentage. The future is now for the Royals, and Giaviotella is certainly a player worth picking up if in need of some middle infield help.
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The Major League trade deadline may have passed, but that does not mean that players can no longer be traded this season. Instead, the waiver wire process will shortly begin and there will be more players on the move. Typically the players on the move have bad contracts, which allows them to surpass the waiver process or a team will claim a player and a trade will be negotiated. Here’s a look at five players who will likely be on the move:
Vladimir Guerrero, DH, Orioles- This potential hall of famer is riding a 6-game hit streak, batting a respectable .284 with 9 home runs. He leads the league in chase rate (swinging at pitches out of the strike zone) and his numbers are way down across the board, but he has playoff experience and could help a team down the stretch as a hired bat. It would not surprise me to see him rejoin one of his past two teams: the Rangers or the Angels. The Yankees also could make a move for their former nemesis by putting him in the DH slot, though this is unlikely with Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez now healthy to support Jorge Posada. The White Sox would be the dark horse considering they are not getting anything out of Adam Dunn.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Astros- An underrated strikeout artist, it’s been another fine season for Wandy Rodriguez. A 32-year-old hurler, this southpaw is durable and could be a solid third starter for a playoff contender. He always has an ERA under four and he was involved in some trade chatter with the Yankees just a few weeks ago. If a playoff contender suffers an injury in the starting rotation, Rodriguez could be the first player targeted.
Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs- At 35 years old, Soriano’s best days are in the past, but he does have four home runs over his last four games and now 19 dingers on the season. His OBP is disgraceful at .283, and he leads the league in chase rate. With his awful contract, he will clear waivers, and at that point could end up getting traded if the Cubs are willing to eat some of his contract in a swap of bad contracts. It would be interesting to see him reunite with the Yankees, or join a team desperate for outfield production such as the Tigers or Braves.
Carlos Zambrano, SP, Cubs- Another bad contract on the Cubs, Zambrano does have 8 wins and is riding three quality starts. He does have ace ability, which we saw that as recently as the end of last season. So a team desperate for a third starter may want to consider the Cubs volatile hurler, though they would have to be willing to take on a few years of potential mayhem. The Yankees, White Sox, and Tigers are potential landing grounds.
Carlos Lee, OF, Astros- The veteran slugger is 0 for his last 19, dropping his average to .267, but he does have 60 RBI and 41 extra base hits on the season. The same teams that will go after Soriano will also consider this 25-year-old. The only question is whether he will veto a move considering his 10/5 rights. Known as El Caballo, Lee is a rancher who wants to stay close to his home in Texas.