For those of you that missed it, The Oracle spent three days in the hospital with a dastardly case of the flu. He’s still not even close to 100 percent, but he’s going to do his best to get back on it today. Let’s see how he does.
Tony Cingrani has shocked me with his success thus far (1.50 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 14.00 K//9, 7.00 K/BB). I’m still not sold, which I know sounds crazy given his success. However, he cannot keep up the K-rate. He cannot keep up the walk rate (2.00 per nine). He cannot continue to hold batters to a .188 average. He cannot continue to have a BABIP of .278 with a 24 percent line drive rate. He’s also still throwing his fastball 81 percent of the time. Deal him at his apex before he pulls a Jose Fernandez (I dealt Cingrani for Chris Sale in one of my leagues – a steal if you ask me). By the way, Johnny Cueto will make his first minor league start Friday as he works his way back from a lat issue. He’s likely about two weeks away. As for Fernandez, I issued my warnings when he made the big league club. He’s 20 years old and entered the season without a single outing above High-A ball. What the heck were you expecting from him? Given those two facts, and those two alone, you should be really pleased with his five outings thus far that have led to a 8.63 K/9 mark and 1.29 WHIP. I know you aren’t but that’s your fault for having too high of expectations.
Carl Crawford will sit out Wednesday and Thursday (a day off) to nurse his tender hamstring. After a whopper of a start his production has slowed drastically, but his slash line is still elite. Seriously. Take a look: .308/.388/.516. He has a better average than Carlos Gonzalez. He has a better OBP than Paul Goldschmidt (.387). He has a better SLG than Buster Posey (.488). See what I mean?
Starling Marte has been killing it. Just look at his .327 average and .395 OBP. However, there is a real downside. The seven steals are fantastic, as is the batting average, but here comes the rug being pulled out. (1) He’s on pace for less than 15 homers. OK, you can live with that given the rest of his performance. (2) He’s on pace for about 60 RBIs. OK, you can also live with that given his overall work. (3) He’s taken seven walks in 26 games. While that is better than his pace last year of eight walks in 47 games, it’s still awful. (4) His strikeout rate has dipped from 27.5 percent last year to 22 percent this season, but neither number is great. When combined with his terribly low walk rate his 0.27 BB/K ratio this season is still dreadful (the big league average is about 0.45). The highest batting average last season by any player in baseball with a mark of 0.27 or less was .293 by Alcides Escobar. I doubt Marte will hit even that well given the stage of development he is currently at (also note that Escobar hit .254 in 2012, tis the nature of players who show no patience and strike zone judgement).
To see how others are evaluating players don’t forget to go to Fleaflicker.com where you can check out the owned percentages of all your favorite players.
Hyun-Jin Ryu had 12 punchouts Tuesday night giving him 10.99 K/9 this season. NO ONE, not a single person in baseball, thought he was going to do that. I’m going to agree with everyone and side with this being a random run of greatness. I’m still thinking that there will be a pullback in the K-department. Been impressed by his efforts this season no doubt, but over his head is he (that was Yoda speak for those of you who missed it).
Way too early to draw any conclusions, but Mike Trout is hitting .261 with a .766 OPS. He’s on pace for about 12 homers, 95 RBIs, 90 runs and 25 steals. Since September 1st of last season he’s hit .276 with a .368 OBP and .467 SLG over the course of 56 games. He’s also hit only seven homers while stealing 11 bases.
Chien-Ming Wang will stay with the Yankees organization. Does anyone care? Maybe the Yankees do, but the last time he pitched 100 innings in the big leagues was 2007.
Fantasy baseball may never be the same. Thanks to FanDuel.com, you have a chance to enter a contest to win a free trip to Vegas, oh, and to pocket a grand prize of $200,000. All it will cost you is $10. Interested? If so, and why on earth wouldn’t a chance to seem some Vegas show girls, to put a $20 spot down on the craps table, or to walk away with enough money to put your kids through school not appeal to you?
$1 Million Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship on FanDuel
For the next 13 weeks a winner will be crowned in the $1 million Daily Fantasy Baseball Championship. Each weekly winner will then be flown to Vegas, all expenses paid by FanDuel.com, and given a shot at the $200,000 grand prize. That’s right. Win two weekly matchups and you’ve got $200,000 coming your way. And don’t think that you have to enter hundreds of times to win. And don’t think that you have to enter hundreds of times to win. Jordy Nelson last year entered once, one time, and he ended up in the Finals in Vegas cause he won his weekly matchup. He then proceeded to win that year’s grand prize of $100,000. All from one $10 entry.
So what do you do? You go to FanDuel.com and sign up for the April 5th contest.
You then put together your salary cap team (the rules are very simple and can be found at the top of the page if you follow the link).
You win, you’re rolling in cash. Simple as that.
Who should you have in your lineup? Never say that The Oracle isn’t a nice guy. In the video below I will discuss some of the matchups and some names that you might consider adding to your lineup for your chance to become a very rich person courtesy of FanDuel.com.
Oh, there’s also a little discussion in here about the fantastic start of Adam Wainwright and why you should be a bit nervous if you own Starling Marte or Tony Cingrani.
By Ray Flowers
Each week I’ll be answering questions that have been sent to me at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account in my never ending attempt to replace myself by explaining to everyone how I evaluate players thereby making myself obsolete.
What should we expect from Starling Marte? Is he a 12 or 14 team league add?
Everyone loves talented rookies. It’s why guys like Matt Moore, Trevor Bauer, Randall Delgado, Drew Pomeranz and Devin Mesoraco have done so well this year. Wait a second, none of those guys has done well (I’d be willing to give Moore a pass, but expectations were so high to start the year that it’s nearly a lock that his owner has been disappointed). For every Bryce Harper there are 25 hot shot rookies that fail to come through. For every Mike Trout there are… well every rookie who has ever played may have to take a backseat to Trout by the time it’s all said and done, and that’s truly shocking. The bottom line is that a team of Nick Swisher’s and Mark Buehrle’s will likely beat up on a team of youngsters year after year. Remember that.
As for Marte, who has been called up by the Pirates, the hype would appear to be justified (at least somewhat). A center fielder by trade, he’ll play left since Andrew McCutchen kinda has that CF spot on lock down. In 98 games at Triple-A Marte was hitting .286 with 12 bombs, 20 doubles, 13 triples, 61 RBIs and 21 steals. This effort comes on the heels of Marte winning the Eastern League batting title (Double-A) when he hit .332. Obviously Marte, ranked the 36th best prospect in baseball by Baseball America early in July, is one of those rare talents that can do it all. A certain blazer who is athletic as all get out, there are still some questions about his ability to control the strike zone, despite all his success, as he is one of those free swingers who rarely takes a walk (his minor league BB/K mark is awful at 0.20, less than half the big league average). Given that approach he could easily struggle, at least in the batting average category.
If you’re in a league that starts five outfielders Marte is without a doubt worth taking a shot on in a 14 team league. Even in a 12 team league he shouldn’t be floating around on the waiver-wire, but make sure you don’t cut an established major league to add him because while there is no doubting Marte has the talent to be a star, there’s a big difference between possessing skills and being able to consistently produce on a big league diamond.
Do I trade Drew Stubbs for Todd Frazier? I need HR, don’t really need SB.
Expectations can really be a killer can’t they? I’ve written about this elsewhere recently, but it deserves to be repeated here as well. Stubbs it the modern day Mike Cameron, a guy who helps you in the counting categories, offers a nice mix of power and speed, but one who is going to do you no favors when it comes to the batting average category. However, with seven hits in his last two games, Stubbs has pushed his average up to .230. Not much of course, but it’s only another hot 10 days from the .243 mark he posted last season. In fact, and his owners might not believe it, but Stubbs has been exactly the same player this year that he was last season. Here are his numbers from 158 games last season followed by his numbers in 80 games this year. Heck, I’ll just double his current rate of production which would give us his numbers in 160 games if he were to maintain his current pace.
That’s right, Stubbs is actually performing better this season than he did last year. Better. In fact, his current effort is right on par with his 2010 effort (.255-22-77-91-30) given the increase in steals this year.
Frazier is seeing playing time at first, third and the outfield for the Reds. Scott Rolen is hitting about as well as Mike Leake, and Joey Votto is on the sidelines working his way back from knee woes giving Frazier a real shot at everyday playing time. Frazier has responded by hitting .302 since the All-Star break, an on the year he has hit .283 with a .343 OBP and .529 SLG. Do you know how many third base eligible players who qualify for the batting title can match those three slash line numbers? The answer is two: Miguel Cabrera (.328/.388/.582) and Edwin Encarnacion (.296/.392/.584). Add in 10 homers in just 223 at-bats and Frazier has been a rather impressive power bat for the Reds.
Stubbs is clearly the superior fantasy performer, but if you are afraid of his average and only in search of a power increase you could make this move, though again, you’re clearly taking a step down in terms of overall production.
Zack Greinke or Lance Lynn rest of the season?
Has it really come to this? Are we really talking about the 2009 AL Cy Young winner in the same breath as a rookie? Greinke clearly has failed to live up to expectations, and he’s had a pretty rough month of work (14 ER in 14 innings) before looking sharp in his last outing (7 IP, 1 ER Tuesday). On the flip-side, Lynn has surprised pretty much every baseball person in the game with his strong work this season. Many, including myself, predicted doom when he hit the skids a month ago (17 ER in 15.1 innings from June 19-30), but he’s actually rebounded extremely well (1 ER his last three starts). Kudos to him for that. Still, let’s keep our wits about us here. Let’s start with the numbers, which are amazingly similar.
Greinke: 9-3, 3.44 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 122 Ks in 123 IP
Lynn: 12-4, 3.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 120 Ks in 116 IP
The numbers do favor Lynn. Everything else favors Greinke. That “everything” includes history of success at the big league level. It also includes the eye ball test, the scouting test and the talent test. In addition, Lynn tossed a mere 109.2 innings last year and he’s already up to 116 innings this season. In fact, as a professional, Lynn has never had a big IP season: 2008 (26.2), 2009 (148.2), 2010 (164), 2011 (109.2) and 2012 (116). Add in that Lynn is pitching better in the majors than he ever did in the minors, and I’m still going to side with Greinke despite the recent hiccup he’s trying to overcome.
Should I drop A.J. Pierzynski for Carlos Santana?
I try to live by a rather simple set of rules. Get my sleep, drink as many Vodka and Red Bull’s as possible, and try to always go with talent over recent production because in the long run, more times than not, it wins out.
If you had asked this question about which catcher to roster my answer would have been the same in March, as it would have been in May as it is here at the end of July – go with Santana. Younger and more talented, Santana struggled badly in the first half causing people to go running like they do when Godzilla goes rumbling down the street. Since the All-Star break though people have remembered why Santana was a top-3 catcher in all drafts this season as he’s hit .315 with a .500 OBP in 13 games thanks in part to 12 walks and just eight strikeouts. I know he’s only batting .234 with seven homers and 37 RBIs on the year, but I still haven’t been presented with an argument as to why AJP would be a better play from this point forward. ‘Idiot, I mean Ray, have you looked at the numbers that show Pierzynski to be dominating Santana across the board?’ Why yes random person, I have noticed those numbers. I also know the following. (1) Pierzynski is dealing with a minor side issue right now that’s kept him out of action for a few days. (2) He has no homers in 12 games and no RBIs in nine contests. (3) His current total of 16 homers is one off his combined total the last two seasons and the most he has hit since he parked 16 in 2006. (4) His total of 50 RBIs is just one behind his average mark the past three years. (5) His total of 40 runs scored is just one off his average the past two years. (6) Players just don’t set career bests in homers, RBIs, runs, walks, SLG and OPS in their 15th season, especially when they are catchers. You can’t take away what Pierzynski has done this season, but that doesn’t mean I have to buy that he will continue to operate at a pace that we’ve never seen from him before.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday.