Tag: The Fantasy Blog

Fantasy Baseball: Players You Should Consider Trading Before Midseason

For all of you forward-thinking fantasy players, you’re probably way ahead of me in coming up with a list of players who’ve given you great value in the first half, but won’t come close to maintaining production for the remainder of the season. You’ll spend the next few weeks looking for the best trade before their value begins to dip too much.

If you need help identifying this year’s version of Asdrubal Cabrera (.286 BA, 11 HR, 42 RBI, 20 2B, 34 BB in 1st half of 2012; .251 BA, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 15 2B, 18 BB in 2nd half of 2012), let me give you some suggestions.

Here are seven players you should consider trading before midseason. 

Begin Slideshow

Fantasy Baseball: Projecting 2nd-Half Breakout Stars You Should Know About Now

While it’s way too late to buy low on a player that’s already broken out in the first half of the season —Diamondbacks starting pitcher Pat Corbin and Brewers shortstop Jean Segura would be the best examples—plenty more could break out between now and the end of the season. 

If you’re looking for this season’s version of Chris Carter, who had just 17 first-half at-bats in 2012 before hitting 13 homers and knocking in 34 runs after the All-Star break for the Oakland A’s, or Kris Medlen, who didn’t join the Braves rotation until July 31 and then might’ve been the best pitcher in baseball the rest of the way (9-0, 0.97 ERA, 83.2 IP, 57 H, 10 BB, 84 K in 12 starts), consider these eight breakout candidates. 

Begin Slideshow

Fantasy Baseball 2013: Week 3’s Buy Low, Sell High Trade Advice

Last week, two of my three “Buy Low” picks, Carlos Gomez (10-for-18, HR, 3B in last week) and Homer Bailey (8 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 10 K in last start), came through while the third, Ike Davis, finally broke out on Friday with a two-homer game. One of my “Sell High” picks, Barry Zito (2.2 IP, 9 ER, 8 H), also made me look pretty smart in my first week of this feature.  

Just in case last week wasn’t a fluke, here’s some advice for next week  …


Sell High

J.P. Arencibia, C, Toronto Blue Jays 

His six homers and 11 runs batted in this month shouldn’t be much of a surprise. He had eight homers and 19 runs batted in last May and also hit six more long balls in July. 

The other months when he’s not red-hot, however, are when you need to be concerned as an J.P. Arencibia owner. In April, June, September and October of 2012, he combined to hit three homers with 13 walks and 72 strikeouts in 204 at-bats.

You have to figure that cold streak will return very soon, and it won’t be the last of the season. The question is whether it’s worth it to ride out another homer binge. The catching depth is too deep to wait out the streaky Arencibia, in my opinion. Sell now. 


Chris Johnson, 1B/3B, Atlanta Braves 

Before anyone realizes Chris Johnson will go back to a platoon at third base with Juan Francisco once Freddie Freeman returns from the disabled list early next week, see if someone wants to give up something of value to acquire him and his .412 batting average (21-for-51). 

The 28-year-old is a career .282 hitter, coming off of a season in which he set career highs in homers (15), runs batted in (76), doubles (28) and several other categories. He’s a pretty good major league hitter.

Unfortunately, though, he’ll see most of his playing time in Atlanta versus left-handed pitching. The problem is that he doesn’t hit lefties (career .702 OPS) as well as right-handers (.780 OPS).


Buy Low

Victor Martinez, DH, Detroit Tigers

Slowly but surely, Victor Martinez appears to be getting more comfortable at the plate. He is, after all, coming back after missing all of 2012 with a torn ACL

In case any Martinez owner in your league doesn’t realize that and is disappointed with his 11-for-56 start without a homer, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to convince them to make a trade. 

Now, in case you did need a reminder, the 34-year-old switch-hitter has a .304 batting average since 2004. During that span, he’s averaged 18 homers, 90 runs batted in and 34 doubles per season. He can flat-out hit. He’ll figure it out soon enough.


Carlos Marmol, RHP, Chicago Cubs 

This may sound familiar if you were paying attention to the Chicago Cubs last year. Remember when Carlos Marmol’s shaky performance had him demoted from the closer’s role. He moved into a lower-leverage role and pitched much better. The “closer-by-committee” isn’t terrible, but no one in the group is exactly striking fear into opponents or making as much money as Marmol, so they eventually give him the job back. 

In 2012, he was really good in his second stint as closer (1.52 ERA, 12-for-13 in save opportunities, 29.2 IP, 20 H, 17 BB, 39 K). He’ll get another chance in 2013 for the same reasons. 

Kyuji Fujikawa, once he returns from the disabled list, gives the team another solid option in the ninth inning, but the Cubs would much rather see Marmol build his value and then trade him to open the spot first.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Top Replacement Options for Key Fantasy Baseball Injuries

In fantasy football, it’s usually a good idea to own both a team’s starting running back and his backup. If the starter gets hurt, you won’t have to scour the waiver wire for someone else you know will get regular carries. You already have him. 

Depending on your league, you may have the ability to stash guys on your bench that don’t necessarily have a lot of value, but could potentially be the best option available if the inevitable happens and one of your key players gets injured.

Here are a few must-have replacements in-waiting … 


Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds

Keeping Mesoraco on your bench and hoping manager Dusty Baker starts giving him more time than Ryan Hanigan might end up being very frustrating. Baker does love Hanigan and isn’t one to trust a young catcher like Mesoraco with his pitching staff.

Don’t blame Baker, though. Hanigan is one of the better defenders and game-callers around and does a good job of getting on base (.370 OBP), if nothing else at the plate. 

It’s not nice to hope for an injury, but one to Hanigan might be Mesoraco’s only shot for extended playing time to prove himself to his manager. And if Baker trusts him, the Reds offense can potentially be much better.

The top catching prospect in the game heading into 2012, Mesoraco struggled at the plate without regular playing time. He’s 13-for-40 with two homers and three doubles this spring and could slowly start shifting his playing-time percentage closer to 50.0 by midseason, even if Hanigan doesn’t have the misfortune of suffering an injury.


Mike Olt, IF/OF, Texas Rangers

Olt, a third baseman by trade, increased his versatility last year by playing games at first base and right field. He’ll begin the season in Triple-A, but the odds are very high that he’ll get a regular spot sooner or later. 

Whether it’s soon to be 34-year-old Adrian Beltre, 37-year-old Lance Berkman (32 games played last season due to knee injury), 32-year-old Nelson Cruz (four DL stints for hamstring injuries in 2010-11) or Mitch Moreland (missed more than a month in 2012 with a hamstring injury) landing on the disabled list, it will very likely be Olt that gets the call to take their lineup spot.


Oscar Taveras, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

As things stand, Taveras will start the season in Triple-A where he’ll get regular at-bats and bide his time until a spot opens up for him. Sure it’s risky to keep him on your roster in a non-keeper league when there’s a chance he doesn’t see the majors until September.

There’s also a good chance this top-hitting prospect is getting regular at-bats much earlier. Carlos Beltran will be 36 in April, and although he’s had two relatively injury-free seasons, those knees aren’t going to hold up forever.

And remember that on the chance that Beltran does stay healthy again, there are two other outfielders very capable of straining an oblique or hamstring to open up a spot for the 20-year-old Taveras, who hit .321 with 23 homers, 37 doubles and 94 runs batted in with Double-A Springfield in 2012.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Front-Line Starting Pitchers to Reconsider Drafting for Your Fantasy Team

In this day and age where most pitchers can’t go a few years, much less one, without having some sort of elbow or shoulder trouble pop up, it’s very difficult to decide which ones are more at risk than others. 

While reading Will Carroll’s “Under the Knife” column can certainly help you determine the injury risk for many players, another factor in play is the inconsistency that can occur from year to year with many pitchers.

Who could’ve guessed that Tim Lincecum or Ricky Romero would be two of the biggest fantasy baseball busts in 2012? Both pitchers, especially Lincecum, had a track record of success and consistency.

Lincecum was in his age-28 season while Romero was only 27. Both have continued to struggle this spring, and Romero was just optioned to the minors Tuesday.

So which top-of-the-rotation pitchers should you stay away from in 2013? Who’s the next Lincecum or Romero? Here are four whom I believe should be drafted at your own risk.


Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics

The typical recovery period after Tommy John surgery is 12-18 months. Once a pitcher returns, it’s common for his command to come and go, and many pitchers say it usually takes two full years before they feel like they’re back to full strength. 

In the case of Anderson, he returned to the majors approximately 13 months after undergoing the procedure. Only one of seven late-season starts would be considered bad, and he finished the year by tossing six shutout innings in a playoff win over the Tigers. 

So is Anderson the rare pitcher to make a quick recovery with no struggles upon his return? Maybe. But I don’t think he’s out of the woods just yet. The inconsistency might still come. He hasn’t been particularly sharp this spring. He allowed just two earned runs in 5.1 innings Tuesday but with just one strikeout. Veteran scout Bernie Pleskoff had this assessment of both starters in the game:

The 25-year-old also has the injury-prone tag and was already sidelined with a minor neck injury this spring. He’ll start on Opening Day for the A’s. Whether he can be consistently good or healthy for 30-plus starts is a major concern, though.


A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates

Burnett’s exit from New York after back-to-back mediocre seasons in 2010 and 2011 resulted in a 16-win season for the Bucs and a 3.51 ERA, his lowest since 2005. Is it safe to assume that he’ll continue pitching well and maybe he is just more comfortable away from the bright lights of New York and the AL East?

We can’t forget that his Yankees debut in 2009 was actually pretty good (13-9, 4.04 ERA, 207 IP, 8.5 K/9), so whatever the issue was the following two seasons wasn’t a problem in year one with the team.

Don’t be surprised if the bad A.J. Burnett reappears in 2013, which would be terrible news for the Pirates as they try to avoid their 21st losing season in a row. I don’t really have anything statistically to base this on. Aside from his disastrous start on May 2 when he allowed 12 earned runs in 2.1 innings, he was consistently good the entire season.

But the Yankees weren’t exactly trying to dump him last offseason while willing to eat a lot of remaining salary because he was a reliable starter. They wanted him out of town for a reason.


Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks

All the talk surrounding the Diamondbacks last offseason focused on top pitching prospects Trevor Bauer, Pat Corbin and Tyler Skaggs. And what about Miley? He was supposed to keep a rotation spot warm until those guys begin to arrive.

Well, none of the three stepped up to claim a spot, and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Miley was an NL All-Star who ended up winning 16 games with a 3.33 ERA in 194.2 innings.

So why the concern in year two? After pitching more innings than he has in his career, there’s always a chance that the 26-year-old doesn’t come back as strong. He’s a candidate for the disabled list to start the season because he’s going through a “dead arm” phase, which has resulted in poor performances in two of his three spring outings.

And maybe all those scouts weren’t completely wrong and he starts pitching more like the No. 5 starter they have projected him to be. 


Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

I wouldn’t steer completely away from Sale, who was sixth in the AL Cy Young voting in 2012 after winning 17 games and posting a 3.05 ERA in his first year as a starter. I’d just wait a few extra rounds to compensate for the injury risk that I consider him to be. Chances are that he doesn‘t drop that far to you, but there’s also a good chance you won’t regret it.

As much of a side note as it ended up being, the White Sox were legitimately concerned about Sale’s sore elbow that they officially moved him to the bullpen last May. After one appearance, he talked his way back into the rotation and ended up being right. He was fine the rest of the way.

The White Sox aren’t overly concerned either, considering they gave him a $32.5 million contract extension that could keep him in Chicago until at least 2017.

Now the 23-year-old lefty is back a year after nearly tripling his innings total from 2011. Just because his elbow held up through the massive innings increase of last season doesn’t mean he’s out of the danger zone that some experts would consider such a jump in workload.

There’s a reason teams put innings caps on young pitchers. The Sox did not put one on Sale, and it’ll be on them if he blows out his elbow in 2013.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball 2013: Late-Round Relievers Who Will Grab You Saves

Shortly after creating MLBDepthCharts.com, I quickly realized just how important it was for fantasy baseball players to find the guy who was “next in line” for saves. Even if it’s just to give the regular closer a break after a few consecutive days of work, saves are valuable for fantasy geeks. 

A closer’s job is rarely on solid ground from one game to the next. Despite what else happens throughout the game, a blown save is not something that’s taken lightly in the media or by fans because it’s almost always directly correlated with the final result of the game. 

Even the best closers in the game will be scrutinized if they blow three or four saves in a month. If you’re not the best closer in the game and you blow a save or two over the span of a few games, the pressure builds as the next unsuccessful opportunity could be the last. 

Take a look at the Washington Nationals’ 2012 season. Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez shared the closer’s gig to the start the season with Drew Storen on the disabled list. The hard-throwing Rodriguez took over the job on his own after Lidge landed on the disabled list in late April. 

Less than a month later, Rodriguez was removed from the role after a string of shaky outings and manager Davey Johnson said he would go with a closer-by-committee, which never happened. Tyler Clippard got the first shot and then didn’t relinquish the role until Drew Storen returned from the disabled list and shared saves with him the rest of the way. 

Injuries and ineffectiveness will occur, as I’ve shown with one extreme example from 2012. So it’s important to have the right guy on your team at the right time. Here are several relievers not projected to close that could either “vulture” some saves throughout the year or eventually take over the closer’s role if the opportunity presented itself … 

Begin Slideshow

Fantasy Baseball 2013: Top 60 Outfielders Heading into Exhibition Play

Here’s my early top-60 listing of outfielders heading into exhibition play, with an emphasis on 5×5 roto leagues.

This position will likely produce baseball’s largest number of four- and five-category studs by season’s end.

But that star power still cannot obscure the uncertainty of taking inexperienced young players or injury-riddled veterans later in the draft, or household names that will invariably fall short of last year’s amped-up stats.

Hopefully, this listing will eliminate some of the draft-day doubt and consternation that come with the territory.

Especially with leagues that require five starters at the position.

Enjoy the show!

Begin Slideshow

Fantasy Baseball 2013: Early Look at the Top 35 First Basemen

The following countdown details my early top 35 first basemen heading into exhibition play, with an emphasis on 5×5 roto leagues.

Generally speaking, I favor power-average-speed guys over one-dimensional sluggers who rely on their immense but sporadic power to get through a given season.

I’m also a sucker for positional versatility, which may explain why Joe Mauer, Buster Posey and Victor Martinez warrant special mention here.

Enjoy the show!

Begin Slideshow

Fantasy Baseball: Early Top 20 Starting Pitchers for 2013 Roto Drafts

The following countdown touts my best early guess of the top 20 starting pitchers heading into fantasy drafts for 2013.

(Stats compiled through Sept. 13.)

This off-the-cuff brainstorm may be rooted in hard numbers, but it’s also a soft measurement of where the market currently stands and where it’ll be in mid-to-late March.

For all we know, young guns like Dylan Bundy (Orioles), Jake Odorizzi (Royals), Matt Harvey (Mets), Gerrit Cole (Pirates), Trevor Bauer (Diamondbacks) or teen prodigy Jose Fernandez (Marlins) could somehow force their way into the next countdown, thanks to a stupendous spring.

But at this point, I prefer to lean on the following cast of savvy veterans, which includes a 23-year-old lefty who’s primed for a big jump next season.

Enjoy the show!

Begin Slideshow

Fantasy Baseball: Breakdown of AccuScore’s Rest-of-Year Estimates for Strikeouts

With the fantasy-trade deadlines coming up this week or next (I have four red-letter dates this Friday), it’s time for owners to make one last pitch for baseball’s elite categorical contributors.

AccuScore, a company that specializes in thorough game simulations, has made a few on-the-fly revisions to its seasonal projections.

These 50 starting pitchers, based on AccuScore projections (not mine), will register at least 55 strikeouts from this point forward (Aug. 7-Sept. 30):


Part I

1. CC Sabathia, Yankees—77
2. Justin Verlander, Tigers—75
3. Yu Darvish, Rangers—75
4. Cole Hamels, Phillies—72
5. Gio Gonzalez, Nationals—68
6. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals—68
7. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers—68
8. Lance Lynn, Cardinals—67
9. Roy Halladay, Phillies—67
10. James Shields, Rays—67
11. Felix Hernandez, Mariners—67
12. Cliff Lee, Phillies—67
13. Marco Estrada, Brewers—67
14. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers—67
15. Francisco Liriano, White Sox—66
16. Madison Bumgarner, Giants—65
17. Zack Greinke, Angels—65
18. Tim Lincecum, Giants—65
19. Matt Cain, Giants—65
20. Mat Latos, Reds—64
21. Jered Weaver, Angels—64
22. Jeff Samardzija, Cubs—63
23. David Price, Rays—63
24. Stephen Strasburg, Nationals—63
25. Erik Bedard, Pirates—63


Part II

26. Felix Doubront, Red Sox—63
27. Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks—61
28. Max Scherzer, Tigers—61
29. Anibal Sanchez, Tigers—61
30. R.A. Dickey, Mets—60
31. Ryan Dempster, Rangers—60
32. Jake Peavy, White Sox—60
33. Josh Johnson, Marlins—60
34. Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians—60
35. Jon Lester, Red Sox—59
36. C.J. Wilson, Angels—59
37. Chris Capuano, Dodgers—58
38. Bud Norris, Astros—58
39. Matt Harvey, Mets—58
40. Michael Fiers, Brewers—58
41. Josh Beckett, Red Sox—58
42. J.A. Happ, Blue Jays—57
43. Chris Sale, White Sox—57
44. James McDonald, Pirates—57
45. Drew Pomeranz, Rockies—57
46. Ryan Vogelsong, Giants—56
47. Jon Niese, Mets—56
48. Matt Moore, Rays—56
49. Edwin Jackson, Nationals—55
50. Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees—55



  • I’ll buy the “under” for CC Sabathia and 77 strikeouts. Since May 26, Sabathia (11-3, 3.53 ERA, 1.20 ERA, 133/34 K-BB) has averaged 6.8 strikeouts over 10 starts. So, if he should squeeze in another 10 outings before Sept. 30, he’ll have to improve upon his current pace of the last 13 weeks. On the positive side, Sabathia has four double-digit strikeout efforts for the season.
  • Clayton Kershaw has 69 strikeouts since June 15, with six or more K’s in nine of the last 10 outings. And compared to Justin Verlander (who bedazzled the Yankees for 14 strikeouts on Monday night), Kershaw will likely enjoy one more start than the Tigers ace from this point forward. Bottom line: I’ll buy the “over” on Kershaw and 68 strikeouts.
  • Stephen Strasburg (11.31), Max Scherzer (11.28), Yu Darvish (10.34) and Gio Gonzalez (10.02) are the only regular MLB starters to post K/9 ratios above 10 this season, and from a 30-day perspective, Scherzer, Strasburg, Darvish, Francisco Liriano, James Shields, Madison Bumgarner and David Price boast that honor. So naturally, they’re all good candidates for 60-plus strikeouts.
  • Roy Halladay has posted respectable results in his last four games with Philly—1-1, a 4.13 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 21/3 K-BB ratio. But the punch-outs aren’t necessarily coming at an accelerated rate, likely a consequence of his recent shoulder woes and subsequent absence from the Phillies rotation for June and half of July.
  • Noticeably absent from this list: A.J. Burnett, Dan Haren, Wandy Rodriguez, Vance Worley, Andrew Cashner, Johnny Cueto, Wei-Yin Chen, Jordan Zimmermann, Aaron Harang, Miguel Gonzalez, Zach McAllister, Chad Billingsley, Corey Kluber and Ricky Romero.
  • For what it’s worth, AccuScore projects Reds closer Aroldis Chapman for 48 more strikeouts in just 27.4 innings. For July, Chapman had a 0.00 ERA and 0.56 WHIP. He was also a perfect 13-for-13 in save opportunities. Chapman’s K/9 ratio for July was a mind-blowing 19.5, easily his best effort of the season.


Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress