Friday, September 5, 2014

Worth the Pick Up? Edward Mujica, Cory Rasmus, Jorge De La Rosa

As usual, all numbers cited in this posting were found on and ownership rates are from Yahoo! Fantasy.

Edward Mujica

Currently owned in 12% of leagues. He is being picked up as more of a speculative play as it was announced that regular closer Koji Uehara may possibly be shut down for the season.

In the event that Mujica becomes the Red Sox closer to close out the season, is it going to work out (beyond some potential saves)? While he does have some closing experience ( he saved 37 games for the Cardinals last year), my answer is no.

He does sport a 4.13 ERA this year (with a 3.76 FIP & 3.75 xFIP) so he isn't exactly dominating the opposition, This isn't just a fluke year as these totals are not too far off of what he's done in his career. He's also not going to make up for it in strikeouts as he's only struck out 6.7 per 9 this year (7.1 in his career). While it's likely he'll continue to get picked up by players that are absolutely desperate for saves, there's nothing in his numbers that indicates that he would be able to hold down the closer job for an extended period of time.

Cory Rasmus

Currently owned in 2% of leagues. He has primarily been in middle relief this year (thus the low ownership rate). He was pushed into spot-starting duty last Saturday against the A's and struck out 6 batters in three innings. It was announced that he will be starting this Saturday's game against the Twins. Besides playing a weak opponent what are the chances that Rasmus could be a good pickup.

While, there is the concern over him being stretched out enough to go deep into ballgames, there are some encouraging signs that you can get a good performance out of him during the innings that he is in the ballgame.

While his 2.48 ERA is overly-optimistic going forward, the advanced numbers indicate that he could be a solid starting option assuming he's able to cover more innings as his FIP & xFIP (2.80/3.27) are both very solid and he also looks to be a solid source of strikeouts (9.9 per 9 innings this year).

Jorge De La Rosa:

Currently owned in 26% of leagues and the owner of a nice 2 year/$25 million extension. He has been getting picked up today but it seems a bit perplexing why. Despite having 13 wins, he isn't necessarily on a hot streak, he pitches his home games at Coors Field (though in all fairness has somehow pitched much better at home) and he doesn't necessarily make up for his very pedestrian ERA (4.26) with a bunch of strikeouts. If anything, he is lucking out in this area as his BABIP .263 is much lower than his career total .300.

The Rockies, a team already in shambles could be in even more shambles if his luck on batted balls goes away.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Around The Lineup: 9/4/14

A look at some popular pick-ups. All numbers referenced were found on and ownership percentage numbers referenced found on Yahoo! Fantasy


Dioner Navarro:

Currently owned in 28% of leagues. The last few days have been very good to Navarro as he has homered in his last two games  and has an OPS north of 1.000 in his last five games.

Is this a sign of things to come or has he reached a rare peak. So far, his batting average is at .283 but his BABIP of .302 is well above his career total of .278 and he has gotten moderately lucky on his HR/FB rate which is 9.4% compared to 7.8% for his career. He is also approaching his career high for plate appearances which was 470 for the 2008 Rays.

Over 470 plate appearances, and adjusting for his normal numbers, I think he would have a line of:

.262/.336/.383 10 HR 59 RBI 35 R 2 SB

Bottom line is that you may get a decent batting average and possibly double-digit home runs but I don't think he'll be close to the top flight option that he's been playing like over the last week.


Kennys Vargas:

Currently owned in 40% of leagues and getting close to playing himself off the list (the minimum is 50% ownership). He has provided a spark to the Twins lineup since being called up but can he keep this up. The main red flags are that his BABIP (.389) and HR/FB rate (18.2%) indicate that he may be playing over his head and his low walk rate (2.8%) indicate that his success may be short-lived. His projection is for 520 plate appearances (his career high from 2013 high A+ ball).

.247/.275/.444 12 HR 87 RBI 53 R

The main thing keeping his projected numbers down are that it's too early to tell if his 18.2% HR/FB rate is indicative of his actual abilities. For players with less than 1,000 plate appearances, i'll typically assume a 10% HR/FB rate baseline. Also, if he becomes more patient at the plate and his walk rates move closer to his minor league totals, this would lead to a much more optimistic outlook.


Joe Panik:

Currently owned in 14% of leagues. He has hit for limited power so far but a recent hot streak has moved his batting average to .318. The main question is whether he can keep this up as he does have a relatively high BABIP (.354). His projection is for 605 plate appearances (his career high in the minors for 2012):

.269/.341/.347 12 HR 40 RBI 61 R

I think he'll be a reasonably valuable player for the Giants as I think he'll do just enough on offense to justify playing him (so far his defense appears to be solid). The question is whether the power will develop. It could very possibly turn out that even double-digit home run power may be overly optimistic. Again, this is based on small sample size as he currently sports a low HR/FB rate of 2.6% but I attempted to work towards 10% with the absence of further data.


Luis Valbuena:

Currently owned in 22% of leagues and had the benefit of mashing against a Brewers team that seems determined to self-destruct. Currently, he is at his career high of 462 plate appearances so I am going to factor this into the below projection.

.228/.328/.374 12 HR 44 RBI 51 R

While the other players listed up have at least a debatable level of value, I think Valbuena has reached his peak performance which even then has some flaws. Despite a .248 batting average this is above his estimated actual ability as his BABIP (.290) is higher than his career total. He has over-acheived in the home run department and I think he's more of a low double-digit player. The one good thing going for him is that he is at least patient at the plate.


Mookie Betts:

Currently owned in 29% of leagues. Betts has played relatively well since being called up by the Red Sox. The question is what to expect going forward. My projection (based on 551 plate appearances..which he got in the minors last year is:

.284/.374/.466 17 HR 52 RBI 71 R 20 SB

Going into 2015, Betts is going to be a good bet (pun not intended). Nothing in his numbers indicates that he's playing over his head (.288 BABIP/11.4% HR/FB Rate), he's shown that he's not going to swing at everything (9% BB Rate) and he's shown that he can hit for a reasonable amount of power and steal double digit bases. Depending on playing time and how the wind blows, he could easily be a 20/20 player next year.


Juan Lagares:

Currently owned in 8% of leagues but has himself a nice little 4 game hit streak. His projection is based off his career high in plate appearances (421) from last year.

.245/.290/.353 9 HR 39 RBI 39 R 9 SB

This is not meant to devalue what Lagares contributes to the Mets with his defense (he has been 4 wins above replacement despite having a wRC+ of 102). For fantasy players, I don't think he's going to help all that much

While I think there's the potential of him hitting a few more home runs, his BABIP is running a little high and I think he's closer to a .245 hitter. Ad in low walk rate, modest home run/stolen bases totals he appears headed to being an elite defensive player (but not so much on offense.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Worth Picking Up? Steve Pearce, Jordan Schafer & Yusmeiro Petit

Steve Pearce:

Currently owned in 24% of leagues. Pearce has been one of the many pleasant surprises that has helped Baltimore build up a sizable advantage in the AL East.

Anytime you get someone that available who is hitting .290 with 16 home runs in barely over 300 plate appearances, the first instinct would be to drop everything and get him (especially in the short-term as Baltimore plays the Twins & Reds in the next two series).

Personally, i'm not completely sold as I see this as more of a career-year versus a breakout season. He has done stronger than his career norms in BABIP (.324 versus .294) and HR/FB rate (15.5% to 9.4%). Take that out of the equation and his baseline talent would be:

.263/.355/.431 10 HR 34 RBI 5 SB

Can he be a contributor and help a playoff contending team win games? Sure

Is he someone that can help stand out above the fantasy pack and two positions (1B & OF) where there are plenty of offensive options? That i'm not sure about. I wouldn't completely say no to him, but I currently have him ranked 137th amongst batters making him a borderline bench/utility option. If we pro-rate these numbers over a full season (650 plate appearances) he at least appears capable of hitting around 20 home runs.

Jordan Schafer:

Currently owned in 4% of leagues but getting a slight uptick after having a monster game against the Royals yesterday. Yes, he had a good game and he can help in the stolen bases category (25 so far this season). That being said, he's projected to hit .248, provide minimal power. Over a full season, he would do this:

.248/.353/.331 4 HR 46 RBI

Based on how he has stolen bases (25 over 170 plate appearances), this would project to 96 over the course of 650 plate appearances. Realistically speaking, there's no way he would get that opportunity to play based on how little he produces offensively (despite having a relatively solid OBP.

Yusmeiro Petit:

Currently owned in 10% of leagues. He has seen his stock increase after striking out 9 batters and giving up 1 earned run over the last six innings against the Rockies yesterday.

Petit has been one of those players who has moved back and forth between the rotation and bullpen. Is Lincecum's removal from the rotation a long-term door opening for Petit (even though his next start will be at Coors Field?)

As it stands, he has a decent ERA (3.44) and a BABIP (.284) that is slightly better than his career total. Adjusting for this his ERA would be 3.51 (though his FIP & xFIP totals have been better than that)

If they keep him in the rotation long-term, Petit wouldn't hurt owners with his ERA (though there would be better options) but he would be capable of racking up a respectable amount of strikeouts.

Player Statistics referenced found on

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Way Too Early 2015 Player Count Up: 1-10

Since it's never too early to look ahead, one feature I am beginning is looking at the top players for the upcoming year based on this year's performance. To get the scores I started with this for a guideline (based on 2014 stats).

(Home Runs * 2) +  (Runs + RBI + SB) * Batting Average

The reasons I gave extra weight to Home Runs is because of power being at a premium and also having an added indirect impact. After that, I reviewed their player page on Fangraphs to see how their BABIP from this year compares to their career BABIP and used this to adjust their batting average, runs & rbi totals. I then did the same comparison on HR/FB rate to adjust for their home run projections. To get towards what their numbers would look like with these totals normalized as best as possible.

Some areas discussed but are not factored into these rankings are OBP (projected average + career BB%), SLG (projected average + ISO) and I looked at the compatible players list on to see if there were any red flags indicating production may be falling off drastically sooner rather than later.

1) Mike Trout

While the days of substantial stolen bases total are behind him, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, he is the number one ranked player. His projected line over 650 plate appearances is as follows:

.299/.421/.540 34 HR 103 R 109 RBI 15 SB

His most similar player through age 21, Frank Robinson had a very similar line through age 23:

.311/.391/.583 36 HR 106 R 125 RBI 18 SB and based on the EloRater on turned out to be the 15th best hitter of all-time. Bottom line, the sky's the limit for Mike Trout and we should continue to expect further excellence from him in 2015.

Possible Red Flags: None

2) Albert Pujols

While there is little to no controversy over Mike Trout being in the #1 spot, the same probably can't be said about Albert Pujols being in the #2 spot. While his numbers haven't gone in the right direction since signing with the Angels, there are some indicators that he has been better than his surface numbers (or I could be wrong since he's quickly approaching the wrong side of 35. The projected line for him is as follows:

.312/.424/.582 35 HR 93 R 102 RBI  6 SB

A couple things favor him doing better than what he has this year (which at a 126 wRC+ hasn't exactly been terrible). His BABIP has been lurking near the .270 range (compared to .300 for his career) and his HR/FB rate which is currently at 13.5% is well below his career total of 18.4%.

Granted, these are two areas that have trended in the wrong direction over the last few years but I do think he does have at least one more monster season ahead of him.

His most similar player through age 33 also happens to be Frank Robinson. History appears to at least be somewhat on his side as Robinson was still crushing the ball at age 35 to the tune of:

.281/.384/.510 28 HR 82 R 99 RBI 3 SB

Possible Red Flags: Age (going to be 35), BABIP, HR/FB Rates have been consistently below career norms for three consecutive seasons

3) David Ortiz

David Ortiz is not letting the fact that he's 38 years old stop him from being an imposing hitter and there appears to be little sign that he will be slowing down soon. If anything, he might do even better as his HR/FB rate this year is slightly below career totals and his .257 BABIP has dragged down his batting average. His projected line for 2015 is as follows:

.311/.443/.573 40 HR 75 R 136 RBI 0 SB

Currently, Ortiz sits at 461 home runs (as of 8/27/14) and the way he is hitting the ball, we could be seeing him hit his 500th career home run towards the end of 2015.

His most similar player (that played during his age 39 season) was Frank Thomas. In that season (which was his last full season) he had a .277/.377/.480 line with 26 home runs. This does temper expectations a bit but like Pujols, I think there is at least another monster season left in David Ortiz.

Possible Red Flags: Age

4) Giancarlo Stanton

Is having his best season yet on the surprisingly competent Miami Marlins. He has seen his batting average increase due to a spike in BABIP and has even thrown in some stolen bases. His 2015 projection is as follows:

.272/.392/.541 37 HR 85 R 100 RBI 10 SB

While his numbers project to be very strong, if he ends up being traded to a higher market team in the off-season (such as the Red Sox), he could see decent incremental boosts in Runs & RBI. His most similar player, Juan Gonzalez performed very strongly in his age 25 season (27 HR, 130 OPS+) even though said season was shortened to 90 games due to injury. Even though his career was over by age 35, he still had 5 35 HR-plus seasons ahead of him at this point.

Based on how Pujols & Ortiz age, there could be an argument for moving him up to #2. As he is still not quite 25, he is just now barely entering the prime of his career.

Possible Red Flags: None

5) Nelson Cruz

Even though we haven't gotten out of August yet, he has already set a new career high for home runs. His 2015 projection is as follows:

.290/.370/.522 35 HR 96 R 119 RBI 4 SB

While he has over-performed in the power department, the rumors of his over-ratedness in this category have been over-exaggerated. Even though his HR/FB ratio is higher than his career total, the difference in this metric is not very extreme (20.0% to 17.2%). If his HR/FB ratio was close to his career total, he would still be doing very good in the power category. In addition to this, there is the potential of a better batting average next year as his BABIP this year is actually well below his career total.

That being said, there is a very high bust potential for Nelson Cruz. He has struggled to stay healthy, he turns 35 next year and the similar player scores on baseball-reference do not paint a rosy picture. His two most similar players (Henry Rodriguez & Brad Hawpe) were done after their age 34 season and the third player on this list (Jim Lemon) was very ineffective in 178 plate appearances. While he has a very strong rank based on his performance this year, there is a high potential of someone paying lots of money to him and be very disappointed.

Possible Red Flags: Age, Injuries, Similar Player History is NOT on his side

6) Miguel Cabrera

For most players, having a 139 wRC+ and 3.8 WAR with a month to go would qualify as an excellent season. However, Miguel Cabrera is not most players. His 2015 projection is:

.314/.425/.547 32 HR 98 R 108 RBI 1 SB

Despite his (relative struggles) his batting average is still north of .300 and his slugging average is still north of .500. His BABIP is slightly below career ranges, and may creep north of .310 next year. He has seen a substantial dip in HR/FB rate this year (11.8% versus 18.9% career total). Factoring this in, his home run total would be 27 if this section was evened out. My take is that the rumors of his career demise are over-exaggerated.

History does tend to side with this assessment as his most similar batter is Hank Aaron who went on to become the 8th best hitter of all time (according to the Fan EloRater, though even at that rate he is under-rated.

At age 32 he hit .279/.356/.539 and led the National League with 44 home runs and had six additional 34+ home run seasons ahead of him. Bottom line, Miguel Cabrera appears to be having a fluky season in the power department and should be back to hitting 35+ home runs a year for at least awhile.

Possible Red Flags: Possibility that power downturn is start of decline and not a fluke

7) Josh Donaldson

He has been more heralded for his defense but his offensive production is also very elite. His 2015 projection:

.276/.375/.468 26 HR 102 R 111 RBI 9 SB

While the first six players represent the top tier of projected offensive production, Donaldson represents the beginning of the second tier of elite players. Still, he is the second best player with 3B eligibility (behind Miguel Cabrera). His batting average has been floating in the low .250s but after adjusting for BABIP he should provide a solid but not spectacular .276.

If he was on a lesser team, his overall ranking may be a bit lower but he does get a boost for playing on a strong Oakland team which should keep his Runs Scored & RBI totals very strong.

History does not seem to be on his side though. His most similar player Aaron Boone hit 26 home runs in his age 29 season, but also hit .241 and had an OPS+ of 93.

Possible Red Flags: History does not appear to be on his side

8) Chris Carter

I was a little bit surprised that he made it this high on the rankings, but thinking about it closer it does make some sense as I did put additional emphasis on home runs. His projection:

.246/.355/.490 43 HR 90 R 116 RBI 3 SB

I gotta admit, it is somewhat impressive that someone who hits .229 can still come away with a 127 wRC+. If he can keep at least a decent average, he'll always be a player with more value in fantasy than in real life (his defense has always been sub-par and he's only 1.5 wins above replacement even with all his power).

With that being said his batting average should be slightly better and his home run power is very legitimate. This is another player where the similar batters section on baseball-reference serves as a red flag as this is populated with players who had pop in their bats but not very long careers such as Kevin Maas, Brian Hunter, Karim Garcia, etc. Another area of concern is that his walk rate has decreased the last couple seasons.

Possible Red Flags: Decreasing Walk Rates, History not on his side

9) Adam Jones

Currently playing a major contributing factor to Baltimore's surge and lead in the AL East. His 2015 projection:

.288/.332/.467 27 HR 86 R 91 RBI 7 SB

He is performing extremely close to what I would expect. His BABIP from this year exactly matches his career total and has been very consistent the last three seasons and his home run totals appear consistently on pace.

His most consistent player, Reggie Smith had a solid age 30 season, .302/.382/.488 but had slightly less power  (19 home runs). Jones may never be in the Mike Trout/Giancarlo Stanton stratosphere but he is a very solid/consistent player who will give you a decent batting average and 25+ homers. If the basis is on OBP versus average his ranking would be much lower due to a 4.4% walk rate.

Possible Red Flags: He Turns 30, Poor Walk Rate impacts Run Potential

10) Jose Bautista

While his 50+ home run power appears to have been a one-shot deal, he has continued to be an excellent source of power as he's hit at least 25 out every year in this decade (despite missing a lot of time in 2012 & 2013. His 2015 projection:

.261/.398/.484 30 HR 81 R 85 RBI 6 SB

Assuming he stays healthy all season, he should provide 30 home run power. While his OBP is going to be top shelf, he's likely to settle in as a .260 hitter. Since the Blue Jays are pretty deep offensively, this should give him additional Run/RBI opportunities. His most similar player, Jeromy Burnitz put in solid power production at age 34 (31 home runs) but only hit .239 and had a 105 OPS+

Possible Red Flags: Age (about to turn 34), Injury, Modest (at best) batting average.

Out of the top 10, I would categorize them as follows:

Best Chance at Success:

Mike Trout
Giancarlo Stanton
Miguel Cabrera

Getting Old but at least one more Monster Season:

David Ortiz
Albert Pujols

Solid but not Spectacular:

Adam Jones

I think they'll be okay but there is some bust potential:

Jose Bautista
Josh Donaldson

Highest Bust Risk:

Chris Carter
Nelson Cruz

All data, information referenced researched on &

Monday, August 25, 2014

Waiver Wire Pick Ups: 8/25

Eric O'Flaherty/Luke Gregerson:

With Sean Doolittle expected to miss some time due to injury, there are some possible saves available from the Oakland A's. The only catch to this is it is unclear which of these two players they will be distributed to. However, this has not deterred fantasy owners from picking both of these players up and making both of these by far the most picked up players in Fantasy today.

Since neither of these players have any full-time closing experience, it may help to look at what they've done so far in their careers to try to troubleshoot who is the better choice and who has the best chance. Since O'Flaherty hasn't pitched much in the majors this year (13 1/3 innings), i'm going to shift my focus towards their career numbers.

Strikeout Potential:

This goes to Gregerson who has the K/9 edge at 8.89 to 6.95, to further pile on he also has walked less batters per 9 (2.64 to 3.08). While their career ERA's are very similar (2.78 Gregerson, 2.79 O'Flaherty), the FIP, xFIP stats indicate that the gap between these two pitchers is larger and in favor of Gregerson.

That being said, it appears much more likely that O'Flaherty is going to get placed into the designated ninth-inning role and at least temporarily hold much more value. Since, the A's are one of the best teams in the league, he should have plenty of opportunities to pile up some saves in the short term.

Kennys Vargas:

Currently owned in 28% of leagues. He has continued to mash since getting called up to the bigs and his continued uptick in value was aided by a 6-RBI performance in Saturday's double-header versus the Tigers.

Oddly, enough his ranking dropped a few spots (128th to 131st) over the weekend. Currently, his BABIP is sitting at .424. While he is worth a closer look and it appears even playing at Target Field hasn't hampered his power too much at the same time expectations do need to be tempered as he's not going to hit .337. With a small sample size of data, his projected average is still fluctuating between the .240-.260 range. Besides that, another red flag that may rear its head at some point is that he has drawn fewer walks (3.9%) while in the majors than he had been drawing at AA this year (10.6%).

Tsuyoshi Wada:

Currently owned in 20% of leagues. Playing for a Cubs team that has been out of contention for several years, his strong performance has flown very under the radar. He has given up 2 earned runs or less in his last six starts and has shown to be a solid source for strikeouts (8.08 per 9 innings).

His ERA is better than expected (2.56) as he's gotten fortunate on the BABIP side of things (.258) but even with that factored in his projected ERA is still a solid 3.41. I think Wada is a solid back-end rotation option as long as expectations are tempered regarding his earned run average.

Dustin Ackley:

Currently owned in 43% of leagues. He had a strong weekend hitting one homer and driving in 5 runs in the Mariners sweep over the Red Sox. This has helped him in my rankings as he's gone from 180th to 135th.

He's projected average (.258) is very close to his actual total (.256) and appears to be on track to break into double figures for both home runs and stolen bases. While he doesn't hold much value with his outfield eligibility, he could be a decent upgrade at second base.

Research for this article done on and Yahoo! Fantasy

Friday, August 22, 2014

Trendy Waiver Wire Pick Ups: 8/21

Matt Shoemaker:

Currently owned in 39% of leagues. He had himself a VERY dominant Thursday evening against the Red Sox. If your in one of the 61% of leagues where he has yet to be picked up, he's definitely worth going up and grabbing soon.

Last night's game moved his projected ERA from 3.50 to 3.35 (good for 38th), and he's tied for 17th in projected strike outs and sixth in projected walks, throw in a strong Angels team that will lead to more win opportunities, Shoemaker should be on the top of list for upgrade options.

Bud Norris:

Currently owned in 18% of leagues and has given up 3 earned runs or less in his last four starts (and picked up three wins in the process). Even with the recent surge of good play, he's a back end option at best (ranked 65th out of 112 overall).

He has been fortunate in having a lower BABIP than usual this year (.280 versus .307 career) and a HR/FB rate that his better than average (9.3% to 10.6%). While his ERA is at 3.69 currently, I have him projected at 4.07 (81st). Yes, there is some potential for stumbling into wins on a Baltimore team that is running away from the AL East. On the other hand, he's not a major strikeout artist (I have him ranked 58th in this category) or avoiding walks (84th).

Basically, what you got is a back of the rotation pitcher who looks better than he actually is due to a recent hot streak and a season  of relatively good luck.

Carlos Carrasco:

Currently owned in 22% of leagues. He's spent much of the season in the bullpen but has recently been moved to the starting rotation and thrown 12 shutout innings over his last two starts (seven against the Orioles and five against the Yankees).

He's done well against good competition lately and gets a non-contending Astros team tonight. Currently, his ERA is at 3.27 and his FIP & xFIP numbers indicate he is capable of slightly better (currently have him projected at 3.08, good for 23rd). He has some (but not much) outside factor win-potential as the Indians have been kinda-sorta good enough to be on the fringe of contention but haven't passed as a dominating team this year.

While the ERA & Win potential are there, he's not going to be a major source for strikeouts (ranked 60th) and does slightly (but not off the charts better) in the walks category 46th. He's a decent back-end option (better choice than Bud Norris but on the other hand Matt Shoemaker is a better choice than Carrasco).

Justin Turner:

Currently owned in 8% of leagues (which is two times as high as the number of positions he's eligible in, his home run total and stolen base total). He may be hitting .314 and may have hit a decisive home run against the Padres on a slow Thursday night.

My advice, do not get tricked by either of these things to pick him up. Yes, he may be on a nice little hot streak.  He also has a very tough to sustain BABIP (.376 versus .312 career mark). He's closer to a .260 hitter and he's unlikely to make that up with power (even at 4 homers is 8.2% HR/FB ratio is lapping his 4.7% career total) and the last time he stole double digit bases in a season was in 2007 in single-A ball. Out of 327 batters, I have him ranked 247th.

Kennys Vargas:

Currently owned in 12% of leagues. He continues to hit well as he hit another home run in the Twins win over the Indians. He has a .316 batting average but also a .377 BABIP. In the long term, I think he's closer to a .260 hitter but at least some of the early power he is displaying is legit. At this point, I think he's capable of being a 20-25 home run hitter though this may be curtailed by Target Field along with his RBI potential. Even with some blemishes on his future projections, I still have him ranked 128th and he is at least worth a look to see if he can keep his strong hitting/power displaying going for awhile. Not bad for someone still available in 88% of leagues.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Trendy Waiver Wire Pick-Ups: 8/20/14

A quick look at some trendy pick-ups today:

Carl Crawford:

Currently owned in 46% of leagues and seeing increasing interest after having a pretty awesome day in yesterday's win over the Padres.

The question is whether or not he is worth all this additional interest. The one thing that has to be on the back of everyone's mind is the excess of Dodgers outfielders which does make fitting everyone in for playing time to be a challenge.

He has had a very strong August (.344 batting average) which has helped improve his overall numbers. Even with that, his BABIP this year (.300) is below his .326 career total. Even though his average is at .268 currently, I could see that getting into the .290 range. While he isn't going to provide much power (12 homers projected over a full season), he is still a viable option to help in the Runs & Stolen Bases category and is still capable of being a top-100 player and a likely upgrade to many teams.

Jedd Gyorko:

Currently owned in 49% of leagues and his stock is also the beneficiary of a very strong performance in last night's Dodgers-Padres game (though his team was on the losing end).

His early season struggles were highly related to un-naturally low BABIP, which is starting to course correct itself, his batting average for the year has even gotten above the Mendoza Line! He's also made some positive moves in my rankings as he's gone from 206th to 154th. He's never going to be a major asset at batting average (projected to be .253) but he is a good buy-low option because he's better than what his .203 batting average indicates and he has the scarce asset of power at the second base position (he's capable of hitting 25 homers over a full season). While his value is lower than Crawford's, he is capable of providing a boost in home run category for fantasy owners.

Matt Shoemaker:

Currently owned in 31% of leagues. Initially, I was a bit skeptical of his value as he has an 11-4 record despite the ERA- & FIP- numbers of fangraphs indicating that he's been an average pitcher.

While he does have some value for win inflation due to being on a strong Angels team, there is some substance. He's been better than what is 3.84 ERA indicates and I think he's closer to 3.5 in this area (42nd out of 112 pitchers), he's a good source of strikeouts (8.72 per 9 this year and ranked 18th in strikeouts for my rankings and he's shown the ability to limit walks. Going forward, he appears to be more set up for success than I was expecting before looking at the numbers.

Brandon McCarthy:

Currently owned in 42% of leagues and coming off three consecutive starts of giving up 2 earned runs or less and striking out at least seven hitters. This has helped him improve his spot in my rankings as he went from 53rd to 42nd.

Even with his recent strong play, his overall numbers are still obscuring how strong he is overall which still qualifies him as a strong under the radar pickup. His ERA for the year is still at 4.24, primarily inflated by high BABIP & HR/FB rates. The projection has his ERA closer to 3.37.

Oswaldo Arcia:

Currently owned in 7% of leagues. Despite homering  in his last three games, i'm not quite sold on his value as I have him ranked 211th among batters. While I do think he's capable of hitting 25-30 homers per season, i'm not convinced he'll be of help in the batting average category (his .230 average is close to the projection of .236), he rarely steals any bases and playing on a weak offensive team like the Twins in a pitcher-friendly ballpark of Target Field deflates his ceiling for RBIs. If you need extra home runs but are otherwise strong, he may be a decent option, otherwise I would look elsewhere.