Trevor Ray (@TRay0128) & Shane Connolly (@Sconnolly114) discuss the ins and outs of getting a deal done before its too late. They will also talk about some pitchers that have been struggling in the first half but breakdown if they think they will bounce back.
(3) Chris Perez popped for dope.
By Ray Flowers
I just keep doing fantasy baseball drafts don’t I? Seems like every time I wake up I get my bowl of cereal, my Red Bull (sometimes there is vodka in it), answer a plethora of tweets and emails, and then I end up being in a draft of some kind. Which draft am I talking about in this article? It’s the SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio draft, populated by the genius minds of the network. How did my team turn out? Before I get to that, here are the rules.
12 team mixed league
14 hitters, nine pitchers
six reserve rounds (also one DL spot)
Here’s the club.
C: Mike Napoli (9th round), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (18)
1B: Adam Dunn (15)
2B: Martin Prado (6)
3B: Miguel Cabrera (1)
SS: Hanley Ramirez (2)
MI: Andrelton Simmons (21)
CI: Kevin Youkilis (17), Lance Berkman (26)
OF: B.J. Upton (3), Shin-Soo Choo (4), Austin Jackson (5), Melky Cabrera (14), Juan Pierre (16), Dayan Viciedo (22), Rajai Davis (27)
UT: Brandon Belt (20)
It’s important to note a couple of salient points before I dig into my team.
This league has one DL spot. That was part of the reason I wasn’t worried about taking Liriano with my last pick. I’ll stick him on waivers and add another arm in week one.
This league was done on a service that has very lenient rules for positional qualification. Take the case of Prado. He should only qualify at outfield (119 games) and 3B (25), but in this league he also qualifies at shortstop (13) and second (10). I say it all the time, but it’s vital to know the rules of your league, and in this league the following players qualify at more than one spot:
Ramirez: 3B, SS
Prado: 2B, 3B, SS, OF
Napoli: C, 1B
Dunn: 1B, OF
Youkilis: 1B, 3B
No on to the offense.
Napoli and Saltalamacchia might hit a combined .240, but both should go go deep at least 20 times with Napoli having 30 HR upside if he can get 500 at-bats at first base for the Red Sox.
I had the #3 pick and was worried that Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera would go 1-2 leaving me to pass on Mike Trout at #3. Luckily Trout went #2 overall so I could draft Cabrera. Dunn is a batting average disaster, but he’s nails in HR, RBI, runs scored. He’s hit at least 38 homers with 92 RBIs and 79 runs scored in eight of nine years. Youkilis should see a nice bounce back at third base in Yankee Stadium, and Berkman was also a late round add who is just one season removed from hitting .300 with 30 homers. Belt has 15/15 talent, and this might be the year he finally lives up to his billing.
Everyone keeps hating on HanRam. Give me that 20/20 talent that qualifies at two spots. I’m a big believer this year. Simmons is likely to bat leadoff for the Braves this season in what could be a potent lineup. I don’t love Simmons this year, but I’ll take that talent in the 21st round. Prado is my starter at second. I’ll take that .300 average and potential 15/15 upside without hesitation.
My outfield is solid. Upton could go 20/40. Choo could go 20/20. Jackson could go 15/25. I’ll take that as a top-3. My fourth is Melky Cabrera. I’m not quite sure how he performs coming back from his PED suspension, but after proving himself to be a .300 hitter the past two years, I took a shot (more on the reason for that below). My 5th outfielder is Juan Pierre. Forty steals and 80 runs, not to mention a .280 average, seem doable. Viciedo never walks, but that’s a 25 homer bat, and I have no idea why Davis was still there in the 27th round. I’ll trade him to someone who needs some speed.
On the hill…
I went earlier for pitching in this draft that I normally do. Why? Because it was where the value was. I didn’t jump into the mix early, the 7th round was my first arm, but look at my top-4: Shields, Gallardo, Greinke and Lincecum. Do you honestly think that each of those four men can’t strike out 200 batters while winning 15 games? People are worried about Greinke’s arm. He was worth taking a shot on in the 10th round (his current ADP is inside the top-60). I picked him up at selection #118. Lincecum? I’ve long been on record expecting a bounce back (see – Is Lincecum Washed Up After Years of Dominance?). Behind that foursome I have another big arm in McDonald, and Wandy Rodriguez is a solid 6th starter. I also added another potential big K arm in Volquez in the reserve rounds. In the pen I also did something I rarely do – I ended up with three closers. I took Putz/Axford because of the value I felt they held, and then much like with Greinke, I just couldn’t pass up Perez in the 19th when others were seemingly afraid to take him cause he might miss the start of the season. I thought Perez was a great value in the 19th round, side issue be damned. Don’t forget that Perez had 36 and 39 saves the last two years. I also tabbed Hernandez as a middle reliever, one who would likely take over if Putz were injured.
Some final thoughts.
I have batting average drains in Dunn, Napoli, Saltalamacchia and Upton. I offset that with the likes of Prado, Miguel Cabrera, Choo, Jackson and Melky Cabrera. I added two all speed guys in Pierre/Davis to help me strongly in steals (not to mention the potential 20 thefts guys like Ramirez, Simmons, Upton, Choo and Jackson). I’ve got youth – Belt, Simmons – and age – Youkilis and Dunn. I really like the balance of this offense.
On the mound, I like it. My top-4, if healthy, will be better than any other top-4 in this league. If my three relievers stay healthy, that’s 100 saves. For not taking a starter early, and not taking a reliever until the 12th round, don’t you think my staff turned out pretty well? Me too.
For the full RESULTS OF THE DRAFT click on the link.
* Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the 2013 BaseballGuys Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide which is now available. Nearly 150 pages of insight to help you dominate the competition in 2013.
By Ray Flowers
I stand accountable. More times than not I’m right, but sometimes I make mistakes. When I do, I’m not afraid to admit it. I’d like to think that helps to set me out a bit in this industry. I try to be transparent and truthful. To that end, I thought I would spend a few days reviewing the results from my “experts leagues.” It wasn’t exactly pretty, I’ll be straight forward with that, but again I don’t believe in running and hiding. First up, the FSTA Experts League.
To review my team click on this link: Vegas, BaseballGuys FSTA Team
And if you want to see the results of the draft, click on the FSTA DRAFT link.
A note. This draft was held in January. That created a lot of issues, chief amongst them the fact that Ryan Braun was thought to be suspended for 50 games at the time of the draft (he went in the 4th round to Chris Liss). There was also the little issue of bullpens simply not being setup at the time of the draft (the draft is so early to help people prepare for the season, but in holding it so early there are a ton of issues that crop up).
To my team.
Yadier Molina and Ryan Doumit were rockstars at catcher. Tremendous duo in a 2-catcher league. Better than anyone else’s.
First base was my downfall. Carlos Pena had his worse full season (he hit flipping .197 with 19 homers and 61 RBIs. He had gone deep at least 28 times with 80 RBIs each of the previous five seasons) and Derrek Lee never played (remember, the draft was in January).
Dustin Pedroia and Brandon Phillips weren’t great, but they were certainly solid at second and middle infield.
Evan Longoria, my first round pick, missed half the season. Last year I won the league with Carl Crawford as my first round pick. I couldn’t pull off the trick again with my first round pick crapping out. My two late grabs to help out at the hot corner, Mat Gamel and Ian Stewart, were just awful.
Yunel Escobar was very solid three of the last four years. Oops. Make if three of five years now as he was awful in 2012 as he hit .253 with 51 RBIs and 58 runs scored. He’s a career .282 hitter.
Matt Holliday did what he always does – produce. Michael Bourn slowed late in the year, but he was still at borderline top-50 performer overall. Shane Victorino, like so many others on this squad, had his worst effort (.255-11-55-72-39). Martin Prado qualified in the infield and outfield and was a dynamic 4th OF with a .301-10-70-81-17. That’s a great season. I was once again bit by the early draft. I added Chris Heisey as my 5th outfielder as he appeared to have a shot to hit 25+ homers in a full-time role with the Reds. Literally days later the Reds signed Ryan Ludwick. We know how that turned out. Matt Joyce started strong but was hurt and ultimately faded in the second half. Oh, and that Franklin Gutierrez — always hurt.
Ricky Romero. I don’t need to say anything there other than just list his name. You know what I mean. C.J. Wilson started out fantastically before an elbow injured killed him in the second half (he’ll need surgery). Brandon Morrow was off to a dominating pace but was felled by an oblique issue. Wandy Rodriguez was, Wandy Rodriguez. Sergio Santos below his arm out. Scott Baker blew his arm out. Tim Stauffer didn’t blow his arm out, but he threw all of five innings on the year. Chris Perez was aces. Roy Oswalt was awful (remember, this draft was in January and we all thought he was going to be pitching in the first week of the season). Tyler Clippard was fantastic. Javy Guerra ended the year with a whimper, and Brandon Lyon never did close all year. Not that it would have mattered with the Astros.
CONGRATS: Steve Gardner/Howard Kamen who won the league.
FINAL RESULT: 11/13 teams. I failed miserably to repeat as the league champion that I was in 2011.
By Ray Flowers
Jay Bruce is at it again. He’s mashing. Over the past three weeks he’s hit .352 with eight homers, 19 RBIs and 16 runs scored. The recent rush has pushed his season marks to .265-32-93-80-7. Last season he produced a fantasy line of .256-32-97-84-8. It might look like nothing has changed but remember that he’s had 110 fewer at-bats this season.
Speaking of the Reds, Chris Heisey is hitting .469 over his last 32 at-bats for the club from Cincy. That’s 15 hits in 32 at-bats folks. He’s been a huge boost in NL-only leagues (check out his ownership rate over at Fleaflicker).
Josh Johnson has looked much better in the second half as he has a 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 3.1 K/BB ratio over his last 11 starts. That’s more like it big fella.
Jed Lowrie hit 14 homers with a .799 OPS in 80 games this season. He’s joined Double-A Corpus Christi. Consider me nonplussed. The guy is a walking injury and his performance is always up and down, up and down. I’ve never been a huge fan despite the obvious skills.
Joe Nathan has been nails the past three weeks. In that time he has struck out 11 batters, without issuing a single free pass, as he’s picked up seven saves in eight outings. Actually, Nathan has been killing it all year long. Not only does he have a 2.48 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, but he’s also struck out 10.76 batters per nine innings this season while striking out 8.13 batters for every walk. Oh yeah, he’s also 30 for 31 in converting save chances. Obviously his arm is all the way back.
Chris Perez called out the Indians for being cheap. “They (the Tigers) are spending money. He (Mike Ilitch the Tigers owner) wants to win. Even when the economy was down (in Detroit), he spent money. He’s got a team to show for it. You get what you pay for in baseball. Sometimes you don’t. But most of the time you do.” Can’t disagree with the sentiment Mr. Perez, but it might be wise to put your house on the market because if I’m the owner of the Indians you’re on your way out this offseason since you clearly don’t want to be in Cleveland.
I know it’s hard to believe, but Kurt Suzuki has actually looked like a big league hitter since he joined the Nationals. He’s hit .266 with three homers, 13 RBIs an a .742 OPS over 22 games.
Mike Trout, and save the hate email people as I’m just pointing out a fact, is hitting .275 over his last 33 games. It would be advisable for you to spend a few moments reading Ron Shandler’s recent article on Trout as well.
Shane Victorino has not performed up to par with the Dodgers. He’s stolen eight bags in 32 games which is a fine pace of course, but he’s hitting just .254 with one homer and a .651 OPS in the blue and white. I’d expect him to perform better in the month of September.
Tom Wilhelmsen leads baseball with eight saves the past three weeks. Yet again we have proof that you don’t have to spend early draft picks or lost of cash on closers on draft day. On the year Tom has 24 saves in 27 opportunities for the Mariners. He’ also struck out 73 batters in 66.1 innings while posting solid ratios (2.58 ERA, 1.16 WHIP).
HITTERS – FRIDAY
Evan Longoria vs. Derek Holland: .421-2-6 in 19 at-bats
Juan Pierre vs. Jeff Francis: .429 with 18 hits in 42 at-bats
David Ross vs. Jonathon Niese: .462-1-8 in only 13 at-bats
HITTERS – SATURDAY
Andre Ethier vs. Matt Cain: .472 in 53 at-bats
Adam Jones vs. CC Sabathia: .342-3-10 in 38 at-bats
A.J. Pierzynski vs. Bruce Chen: .424-2-4 in 33 at-bats
PITCHERS – FRIDAY
A.J. Burnett vs. Cubs: .179/.256/.192 in 78 at-bats. 1 RBI allowed.
Francisco Liriano vs. Royals: .239/.302/.316 in 117 at-bats
Luis Mendoza vs. White Sox: .230/.312/.388 in 152 at-bats
PITCHERS – SATURDAY
Bronson Arroyo vs. Astros: .180/.198/.270 in 100 at-bats.
Jeff Samardzija vs. Pirates: .149/.231/.234 in 47 at-bats
C.J. Wilson vs. Tigers: .240/.324/.323 in 96 at-bats. Zero HRs.
DAILY JOUST CONTESTS
I’ve spent this article talking about baseball, which obviously isn’t at all odd given that this is BaseballGuys.com, but I’ve got a way that you can, in addition to playing fantasy baseball, also play some fantasy football. How can you do that? You can head over to DailyJoust and sign up for any of the myriad of games they have to offer. For those of you who are hardcore baseball fans like me they are still running daily fantasy games for you, well, daily. For those of you who are read to take on the gridiron, there are three pretty exciting games they have to offer. You can find a report on each at the following links (scroll down to the bottom of the articles for the explanations).
NFL FREE ROLLS
(Sign up for free, win cash)
(New team each week all season)
To sign up for any game with DailyJoust simply click on the link just provided.
By Ray Flowers
(1) Mike Trout Greatest Player of All-Time? Some seem to think so. I don’t.
(2) Aroldis Chapman having the best best season ever for a reliever?
(3) Huston Street dominating like no ones business.
(4) Rafael Betancourt historically good, like All-Time good.
(5) Chris Perez struggling closing out games. Could we see Vinnie Pestano soon?
(6) Aramis Ramirez surging for Brew Crew.
(7) David Murphy to see playing time increase – could play every day.
By Ray Flowers
Here are the answers to some of the questions that I have recently received at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
Drop Jemile Weeks for Desmond Jennings ROTW?
Weeks has provided the A’s with a spark on offense. He’s hitting a strong .307 through his first 40 games, and he’s used his speed to swipe 10 bags. He has little power, he hasn’t gone deep once and his SLG is a poor .405, but he slaps the ball and runs. One part of his game that he hasn’t flashed yet is his patience at the dish as his current 4.6 walk rate is about a third of the number he posted at Triple-A this year. It would be nice to see him put a few more balls into the ground, his 40 percent ground ball rate isn’t great, but overall this has been a good start to his career.
Jennings is a better talent than Weeks as he can do a few more things on the offensive side of the field. Jennings, surprisingly, showed some power at Triple-A this year with 12 homers in 89 games, while flashing his elite speed. He has also done a solid job all throughout his minor league career at getting on base (his OBP in over 500 minor league games is .380). He’s up with the Rays, finally, and he has looked phenomenal in a couple of games. The real question at this point is can he stay healthy?
Many will argue that Weeks is the preferred option because of his position (second base). I’m still going in the other direction even though Jennings plays a position that’s filled with talent (outfield) because he is just so talented.
What’s your take on Alex Cobb. Is he just fill in or does he have long term value?
Cobb is part of a current six man rotation with the Rays. Personally I think the choice to go in that direction is a terrible one, but it’s the way it is in Florida right now. The biggest concern I have with Cobb is his catastrophic K/9 drop. Well over a K per inning guy at Double and Triple-A the past two years, he’s currently at 5.14 through seven big league starts. His BB/9 rate is also worse than the league average as well at 3.43. So how is he having success? It’s all in the grounders as 56 of the batted balls put in play off him have been rug burners. He’s much more Derek Lowe and Fausto Carmona than he is James Shields right now.
As for his long-term value Cobb, a 4th round draft pick in 2006, has risen through the minors on the Rays’ pitching plan, and as we’ve seen that often leads to a lot of success. Cobb was a strikeout per inning arm in the minors, but he’s failed to keep that up in the bigs. The hope is that he doesn’t turn into Wade Davis who has done the the same thing. As a big league starter he’s likely to settle into the #4 role on a good team meaning that he will be hard pressed to ever be a difference maker at the big league level.
What’s your take on Pedro Alvarez now that he’s back?
Alvarez, the second selection in the 2008 Draft, hit 16 homers with 64 RBI in 95 games with the Pirates last season. Heading into this year nearly every expert in the fantasy game had Alvarez in their top-10, and even those that didn’t were admitting that Alvarez clearly could reach that level. He simply hasn’t. Alvarez has hit .211, posted a .289 OBP and is sporting a sickly .305 SLG (his OBP last year was .326). Alvarez ended up injured and demoted, though he finally seemed to have found his stroke. In 18 games on the farm he hit .325 with a .439 OBP and .538 SLG leading to a recall with the Pirates.
Alvarez has the ability to hit 30 homers while driving in 100, a rate that he was basically performing at last season in the second half (13 homers, 53 RBI over his last 71 games). He’ll need to cut his K-rate down, its over 30 percent this year, to reach that level of success. With all the problems at third base this season, Alvarez is well worth taking a shot on in mixed leagues as there’s always a chance that he’ll recapture the success he had last season in the second half – he certainly has the talent to do it.
IF Heath Bell gets traded, do I drop any of these for Mike Adams – Izzy, Axford, Marmol, Perez, Santos?
Last week I broke down the outlook of Mike Adams in the July 19th Mailbag piece. Let me put it this way – his skills are superb, sublime, scintillating in fact. He deserves to be rostered in all but the smallest leagues right now, even as a setup man. If he ends up the closer for the Padres, his value would skyrocket. As for the other arms, here are some thoughts.
Jason Isringhausen: Give him credit for his comeback. The Mets appear intent to sit on him and let him mentor Bobby Parnell leaving Izzy as the Mets’ closer. Jason hasn’t thrown 40 innings since 2008, didn’t pitch in the majors last season, and is 39 years old. He also is giving up a huge 53 percent fly ball rate while his 1.88 K/BB ratio is terrible.
John Axford: Good for the Brewers in doing the right thing, i.e. leaving Axford in the 9th and using Francisco Rodriguez as the setup man. Axford continues to impress with a K.9 rate of 11.27, which when combined with a 54 percent ground ball rate results in him being ideally suited to long-term success in the 9th inning.
Carlos Marmol: The Cubs’ righty had a brutal week, but since then he’s back on track with four scoreless outings. Owner of a devastating arsenal, Marmol is striking out more than 11 batters per nine innings, and he is back as the closer. It’s a bumpy ride, but the results are usually solid. If his BABIP of .324 regresses back to career norms (.254), he would be in line for a strong finish.
Chris Perez: He has been struggling a bit all season despite converting 22 of 24 save chances. A K/9 per inning arm, Perez has seen that number dip to 5.80 this season, which when complimented but his 4.54 BB/9 mark makes him one risky option on the hill. That regression has been on full display the last two weeks as his ERA has gone from 2.23 to 3.03 over four outings.
Sergio Santos: He’s being used cautiously by Ozzie Guillen as Sergio has now appeared in 5-straight games in which he hasn’t lasted an inning despite allowing not a single hit and just one walk. He has been strong all year (3.07 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 12.07 K/9) and remains the arm to own in Chicago, even with the odd usage.
Would I drop any of these arms to add Adams if the deal goes down? I wouldn’t even wait that long. I’d make the move to add Adams right now at the expense if Isringhausen.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 210 and XM 87.
Taking a look back at 2010 and trying to project what will happen in 2011 is what we do at Fanball. To that end, Ted Carlson has been sending out assignments for us to rank our top options at each position for the 2011 season. Today, I’ll defend my rankings for the Top-20 Top-10 Closers for 2011 and try to explain how it is possible that two of our experts left Andrew Bailey out of their top-10.
As Ted asked in his the initial report, how is it that Mike Sheets and Seth Trachtman left Bailey completely out of their top-10? I listed him at #5, so the question is, was I right or wrong? Come on, do you really think I’m ever wrong? Here are the data points that prove beyond a doubt that Bailey should be listed in front of guys like Francisco Rodriguez, Huston Street and Chris Perez and firmly in the top-10 for 2011.
(1) Amongst pitchers who tossed at least 40-innings in 2010, Bailey was 5th in ERA (1.47). Moreover, and make sure you are firmly planted in your seat when you read this next sentence, Bailey has the best ERA in the history of baseball for any pitcher who has tossed at least 125-innings. Bailey’s mark is 1.70, slightly ahead of the 1.78 ERA of Al Spalding (and yes, that is the same Spalding whose name adorns sporting apparel these days).
(2) Bailey was 12th in WHIP (0.96) in 2010. Moreover, the past two seasons, amongst hurlers with at least 125-innings pitched, Bailey is #1 in the game with a base runner per nine mark of 8.16 – slightly ahead of the 8.26 mark Mariano Rivera.
(3) Bailey had a mere 7.72 K/9 mark in 2010, but amongst pitchers who have thrown at least 125-innings the past two years Bailey’s K/9 mark of 9.05 is 28th in baseball. Moreover, amongst pitchers with at least 50-saves, that K/9 mark is is 8th.
(4) Bailey has 51 saves the past two years, the 20th best mark in baseball. That number would be higher if not for two factors. First, he wasn’t the closer for the A’s at the start of the 2009 season, and second, injury limited him to just 49 innings in 2010. Still, Bailey has 25-saves in back-to-back seasons, and only 16 men have done that.
Given all that data, I honestly can’t understand how someone who choose to leave Bailey out of their top-10, unless they are going to argue that he is an injury concern. Even then, I’m not buying that argument – Bailey must be a top-10 selection at closer in 2011.
Broxton is a dominating force on the hill. In 2009 he racked up 36 saves, posted a 2.61 ERA and an otherworldly 13.50 K/9 mark. However, he had a couple of rough patches in 2010 that resulted in him losing his closing role to Hong-Chih Kuo in the second half of the season. At the same time, the 295 lbs, 95+ mph throwing Broxton still posted some dominating marks in 2010 including:
10.54 K/9 – Better than Jonathan Papelbon (10.21), Joakim Soria (9.73), Jose Valverde (9.00) and David Aardsma (8.88) to name just a few.
2.61 K/BB – Better than guys like Brian Fuentes (2.35), Chris Perez (2.18) and Brad Lidge (2.17) to name a few.
1.46 GB/FB – Better than Joakim Soria (1.37), Brian Wilson (1.28), Francisco Cordero (1.18) and Heath Bell (1.16) to name but a few.
So why the struggles in 2010?
(1) He walked way too many guys at 4.04 per nine. In each of the previous three seasons that mark was below 3.55.
(2) He was unlucky, at least that’s what I’m calling it. Broxton owns a .328 career BABIP, a mark that he had been at or under in each of the last four seasons. So how do you explain his ’10 mark of .369? Again, I go back to bad luck being the main culprit.
I could see how some of the guys on staff would pass on ranking Broxton in their top-10, I get it. I just hope that everyone holds that view heading into next season so that I can grab Broxton in the middle rounds because I have full confidence in him posting strong totals yet again in 2011.
By Ray Flowers
(1) Rangers pick up Jorge Cantu.
(2) Padres bring in Miguel Tejada.
(3) Phillies officially get Roy Oswalt.
(4) Brett Wallace on the move – yet again.
(5) Kerry Wood likely back on Friday. Sorry Chris Perez owners.
(6) Andrew Bailey likely to DL. Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow to fore?
By Ray Flowers
(1) Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Cameron appear on track to return by next week.
(2) Giants to call up Eric Hacker instead of Madison Bumgarner?
(3) Ian Snell into Mariners rotation in place of RRS.
(4) Tommy Hanson allows eight runs – ERA goes from 2.88 to 4.18.
(5) Mike Leake hurls 7th quality start in eight outings.
(6) Jorge Posada to DL. Will be replaced by Francisco Cervelli.
(7) Mike Gonzalez faces batters.
(8) Kerry Wood’s epic struggles.
By Ray Flowers