Wednesday, April 30, 2014

National League MVP Tournament: Who Is The NL MVP So Far

Yesterday, I went through the AL to determine who the MVP is through the end of April, today is the national league's turn. It pits the top 10 players by WAR as measured through through yesterday (4/29/14) and is a best of five based on:

All information, stats, numbers referenced below found on

Whose team is in better position to make the post season

Who has the higher ERA+/OPS+

What is the difference in WAR between them and the next best pitcher or hitter (based on player's position) on their team

Who has the highest defensive WAR (if two pitchers, nobody gets a point if a batter is pitted against a pitcher point goes to the batter

To account for media bias, which player has the highest profile or which of the two players is disliked the least.


(7) Chase Utley vs. (10) Andrew McCutchen

Neither player's team is great but the Phillies are in better post-season position (1-0 Utley)

Utley has the higher OPS+, currently holding a 172-162 advantage (2-0 Utley)

McCutchen has a 0.8 WAR higher than his next best team mate compared to 0.7 for Utley. (2-1) Utley

Utley has a higher defensive WAR, with a 0.2 to 0.1 advantage

Winner: Chase Utley

(8) Jose Fernandez vs. (9) Giancarlo Stanton

Both players are on the same team which neutralizes this point.

Fernandez holds the OPS/ERA+ edge as he has a 231 to 149 edge. (1-0 Fernandez)

Fernandez has a WAR 0.7 higher than the next best Marlins pitcher while Stanton's edge over the next best Marlins hitter is 0.4 (2-0 Fernandez)

Stanton gets a free point in the pitcher versus hitter battle (2-1) Fernandez

However, Stanton gets the media bias point and the tie-breaker due to being an every day position player and the fact that even people who don't care about the Marlins actually know that he's a big deal

Winner: Giancarlo Stanton


(1) Troy Tulowitzki vs. (9) Giancarlo Stanton

The Rockies are 1/2 game behind the Giants and in the top wild card spot, giving Tulowitzkit the edge here (1-0 Tulowitzki).

Tulowitzki holds the OPS+ edge 223-149. (2-0 Tulowitzki).

Tulowitzki has a 1.0 WAR advantage compared to the next best Rockies hitter (not bad considering Charlie Blackmon is 4th in the NL in WAR).

Winner: Troy Tulowitzki

(4) Charlie Blackmon vs. (5) Yovani Gallardo

The Brewers are the best team in baseball right now (yaaay) and have a 6 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals (1-0 Gallardo).

Gallardo has the OPS+/ERA+ edge at 188-174. (2-0 Gallardo)

Gallardo has a 0.4 WAR advantage over K-Rod while Blackmon is second on his own team to Tulowitzki.

Winner: Yovani Gallardo

(3) Johnny Cueto vs. (6) Jeff Samardzija

The Reds are only 7 1/2 games out of first compared to 11 for the Cubs. (1-0 Cueto)

Cueto has the edge in ERA+ 312-191. (2-0 Cueto)

Cueto has a 1.3 WAR edge over Alfredo Simon compared to 0.2.

Winner: Johnny Cueto

(2) Adam Wainwright vs. (7) Chase Utley

Both teams are right at .500 but the Phillies trail their division by fewer games (1-0 Utley).

Wainwright has the OPS+/ERA+ edge at 290-172. (1-1 Tied)

Wainwright has the larger WAR advantage (1.5 to 0.7) 2-1 Wainwright

Utley gets the free batter point 2-2 Tied.

The media bias one is pretty close. Wainwright pitches for the Cardinals which makes him gritty, gutty and always supported by the "best" fans in baseball. Utley plays on the east coast and is one of the favorite players of Mac from It's Always Sunny. When in doubt, give the media bias point to the player who plays their home games in the Eastern Time Zone.

Winner: Chase Utley


(1) Troy Tulowitzki vs. (5) Yovani Gallardo

The Brewers are currently the best team in baseball (1-0 Gallardo).

Tulowitzki holds the ERA+/OPS+ edge at 223-188 (1-1 Tied).

Tulowitzki holds the team mate WAR edge at 1.0 to 0.4 (2-1 Tulowitzki)

Tulowitzki gets the free batter point.

Winner: Troy Tulowitzki

(3) Johnny Cueto vs. (7) Chase Utley

The Phillies are off to a slightly better start than the Reds (1-0 Utley).

Cueto holds a 312-172 ERA+/OPS+ edge (1-1 Tied).

Cueto holds the team mate WAR edge at 1.3 to 0.7 (2-1 Cueto)

Utley gets the free batter point (2-2 Tied)

In the tie-breaker Utley advances on the media bias point again as the Phillies have a higher media profile than the Reds.

Winner: Chase Utley


(1) Troy Tulowitzki vs. (7) Chase Utley

The Rockies are currently in better position for the playoffs (1-0 Tulowitzki).

Tulowitzki holds the OPS+ edge at 223-188 (2-0 Tulowitzki).

Tulowitzki holds the WAR team mate edge at 1.0 to 0.7

NL MVP TO DATE: Troy Tulowitzki

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

American League MVP Tournament: Who's In The Best Spot for AL MVP So Far?

So, I'm testing out a new feature for the end of each month in trying to determine who is the head horse in the AL MVP at any given time: I'm going to take the Top 10 players by WAR (per baseball reference and through 4/28/14) and face them off against each other in a tournament style bracket (with the players ranked 1st and second getting first round byes). The criteria is as follows which mixes performance and attempts to factor in particular media biases as well:

Which team is in the best position to make the postseason?

Who has Higher OPS/ERA+

Who has a better Defensive WAR (If two pitchers not applicable, the batter gets the point if matched against pitcher as a bonus point for playing in more games)

What is difference in WAR between player and second best player on their team?

Since the MVP voting has an arbitrary sometimes irrational aspect to it, the tie-breaker will be who I perceive the media to like better between the two players

All numbers referenced found on either the players or their team's baseball-reference page.

Play In Round:

(7) Scott Feldman vs. (10) Max Scherzer

The Tigers are in much better position to make the post season as they are not the Astros 1-0 Scherzer

Feldman has a higher ERA+ (252 - 174) 1-1

Both players pitchers, Defensive WAR not applicable

Difference between them and next best team-mate gives Feldman a 2-1 advantage

Arbitrary voting process gives Scherzer the advantage as he is a well established name with a Cy Young to his record which ties it up at 2-2. Since I think Scherzer is going to be better going forward, Scherzer Advances to the next round

Winner: Max Scherzer

(8)  Scott Kazmir vs. (9) Masahiro Tanaka

Both teams are in strong position to make the post-season but Tanaka gets the edge here as the Yankees have a larger lead in the AL East. 1-0 Tanaka

Kazmir has the edge in ERA+ (239-185) 1-1 Tied

Defensive WAR not applicable

Tanaka has 0.5 WAR advantage over next best pitcher while Kazmir's team-mate Sonny Gray has a higher WAR 2-1 Tanaka

In the arbitrary category, Tanaka wins as his free agent status was one of the biggest stories of the winter and he plays for the Yankees which never hurt award voting.

Winner: Masahiro Tanaka


(1) Mike Trout vs. (9) Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees are currently in first place and the Angels are stuck in the middle of the pack 1-0 Tanaka

Tanaka has a 185 OPS+ to 180 for Trout 2-0 Tanaka

Going Batter vs. Pitcher so Trout gets a free point here 2-1 Tanaka

Trout has a 1.1 WAR lead over the next best Angels batter while Tanaka only has a 0.5 advantage

The arbitrary one is a bit tricky while Trout is the much better player voters have voted Trout second the last couple years as they treat advanced numbers like the boogey monster and Tanaka could get the irrational media advantage due to the east coast media bias but Tanaka has never been in a Subway commercial so trout gets the edge here.

Winner: Mike Trout

(4) Josh Donaldson vs. (5) Sonny Gray

There is no edge for whose team has the best playoff chances as both players play for the Oakland A's.

Gray has a 220 ERA+ versus 150+ for Donaldson. 1-0 Gray

Donaldson gets the batter bonus for going up against a pitcher 1-1 Tie

Donaldson has a 0.8 WAR advantage over the next best hitter on his team while Gray only has a 0.1 WAR advantage over Scott Kazmir 2-1 Donaldson

The arbitrary what would a half-attentive media member person do is pretty close as the Athletics win their games in relative anonymity. Since tie goes to the batter here, Donaldson moves on to the semi-finals.

Winner: Josh Donaldson

(3) Ben Zobrist vs. (6) Jason Vargas

The Rays are in last place, 4 1/2 out of first. The Royals ain't exactly lighting it up but are at .500 and 1 1/2 behind the Tigers. 1-0 Vargas

Vargas has a 277 ERA+ to Zobrist's 144 OPS+ 1-1 2-0 Vargas

Zobrist gets the batter bonus point here. 2-1 Vargas

Zobrist has a WAR of 0.8 better than the next best Rays hitter versus Vargas' 0.6 advantage over the next best pitcher 2-2 Tied

This is another case where both players play on teams that are ignored by the media but since Zobrist plays in the AL East and at least plays against the Red Sox & Yankees, he gets the irrational media point.

Winner: Ben Zobrist

(2) Martin Perez vs. (10) Max Scherzer

The Rangers are one game behind Detroit while the Tigers hold a 1 game lead. 1-0 Scherzer

Perez has a much better ERA+ (301-174) 1-1 Tie

Perez has a 0.8 WAR advantage over next best Rangers pitcher while Scherzer has a 0.2 advantage 2-1 Perez

With the irrational media vote, Scherzer would get the bump and tie-breaker and moves on to the semi-finals.

Winner: Max Scherzer


(1) Mike Trout vs. (4) Josh Donaldson

The A's are off to the better start, giving Donaldson a 1-0 lead

Trout has a 180-150 advantage in OPS+. 1-1 Tied

Trout has a 0.7 to 0.4 advantage in dWAR 2-1 Trout.

Trout has a higher WAR versus his team's second best hitter (1.1 to 0.8)

Winner: Mike Trout

(3) Ben Zobrist vs. (10) Max Scherzer

The Tigers are in better position for post-season play so far. 1-0 Scherzer

Scherzer has the OPS/ERA+ edge (174-144). 2-0 Scherzer

Zobrist has a higher WAR advantage versus the next best hitter/pitcher on their team (0.8 to 0.2) 2-1 Scherzer

Zobrist gets the free batter point 2-2.

Scherzer gets the media bias point as he is Miguel Cabrera's teammate.

Winner: Max Scherzer


(1) Mike Trout vs. (10) Max Scherzer

The Tigers are in better position to make the playoffs 1-0 Scherzer.

Trout has the OPS+/ERA+ edge (180-174) 1-1 Tie.

Trout has the higher WAR advantage over next best team-mate 2-1 Trout.

Trout gets the batter point and wins.

AL MVP Pick as of 4/29/14: MIKE TROUT

Monday, April 28, 2014

Yay or Nay: Collin McHugh, Kyle Seager:

Collin McHugh:

Even on teams going nowhere, there is always someone on those teams of value even it is the Astros. In limited duty in 2012 & 2013, he was definitely not that value play as he got shelled in brief stints with the Mets and Rockies.

He got picked up by the Astros in the off-season and in his first two starts (against Oakland & Seattle) he has been absolutely dominant. Since he was never a marquee prospect (18th round draft pick) and never made it onto any top prospect lists (despite decent minor league performance) and didn't even make the Astros roster out of spring training, I have a healthy does of skepticism regarding the ability for him to hold up this performance all year.

One thing that he has going for him is an FIP (1.39) that has indicated that his first two starts are very strong. Still, there are some red flags such as a .161 BABIP that's bound to go up (along with eventually his ERA). Even after two strong starts, i'm not exactly sold on McHugh and i'm going to have to say Nay.

Kyle Seager:

Seager has been on an absolute tear over the last week as he's hit all five of his home runs since the 23rd and had two multi-homer games. It is sort of surprising that he was this far under the radar that it took until late-April for owners to rush to pick him up.

Seager has hit 20+ homers over the last couple years and showed above average production overall in both seasons (108 OPS+/118 OPS+ in 2012 & 2013 respectively). He's likely never to be a monster in the batting average side of things but his power and the ability to draw walks seems to be constantly improving over the last few weeks.

Speaking of batting average, currently it sits at .228, below his career average of .258 since he has gotten fairly unlucky (.241 BABIP), the batting average should start moving towards the .250-.260 range by the end of the season. Since he is also 26, all signs point to him continuing to progress and work towards his peak. If things go right, he could be able to hit between 25-30 homers and also throw in around 10 steals.

Looking from a long-term perspective, his most similar player through age 25 was Sal Bando. While he wasn't a hall of famer, he had a very strong career hitting 242 homers and ending with a career OPS+ of 119 and finished in the top 10 in the AL in WAR on seven occasions. With both the short and long term considered, Seager is a good play in fantasy and I say Yay.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yay or Nay: Joe Smith, Josh Beckett

Joe Smith:

I wonder how many more people would be adding Smith if it was official that he was taking over closer duties instead of there being rumors, speculation & sources that he may taking over that role soon. It also seemed sort of curious when the Angels gave him a 3yr 15.75 million dollar deal over the offseason.

While he has only three saves to his credit, smith has done well wherever he's been in his career (135 Career ERA+) and has had an above average ERA+ in every season that he's pitched. He has shown some raw skills that could translate into him working out as a closer as he's struck out 9.9 per 9 and so far his walks per 9 (2.7) is on track to be the best it has been in his career.

His FIP (2.32) is very strong and there aren't any indications or warning flags that he would struggle as a closer like his team mate Ernesto Frieri has. If you have a tough closer situation and have someone that you were already looking to get rid of, pick him up now. If your relief pitching situation is more stable, wait it out for a day to see if they decide to name Joe Smith their closer before picking him up. Either way, I say Yay.

Josh Beckett:

Beckett is coming off of a strong start against Arizona (just like Jason Hammel was when he got towards the top of Yahoo's transaction trends). I guess if you want to increase your fantasy value as a starting pitcher, does part of that mean hope you have an upcoming start against the Diamondbacks?

If it was 5-7 years ago, Beckett would have already been drafted and owners would not be scrambling to pick him up three-plus weeks into the season. Naturally, I am a bit skeptical as the last couple years he's missed significant time with injuries and hasn't been very effective when healthy.

While his ERA is at 2.57, his FIP is at 3.80, not great but possibly helpful as a lower-end starting pitcher option. He is racking up a career high in strikeouts (10.3 per 9) but also doing the same for walks (5.1), his BABIP is a bit low (.242) as well. Unlike other pitchers such as Jason Hammel, there's at least an argument for picking up Beckett but the past health history and the increase in walks per 9 innings makes me say Nay.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yay or Nay: Devin Mesoraco, Jason Hammel

Devin Mesoraco:

The Reds may be off to a slow start but owners have been picking up their players (such as Alfredo Simon and Mesoraco). I wouldn't expect their struggles to continue as they have a solid Pythagorean record of 12-8.

Mesoraco has been one of those players that people have been expecting to break out (and been disappointed by a lack of break out) over the last couple years as he stumbled to a .238/.287/.362 line last year.

So far, 2014 has been another story so far as his first 42 plate appearances have led to a .541/.571/.946 313 OPS+ line. Going into this year, past history wasn't on his side as his most similar player through age 25 A.J. Hinch finished his career with an OPS+ of 65.

While it is clear that Mesoraco is in line for regression, the question is will he play good enough to be a value in fantasy and show off the promise that made him a first round pick and a top-25 prospect prior to the 2012 season. While I was expecting his BABIP to be high, I wasn't expecting it to be .630 which is more than 2 times higher than normal. Even if we cut the current batting average in half, that puts us at .270 which still passes as progress. As he does get older, I think he will make progress from the power department maybe into the 10-15 home run range. While he's not going to be a superstar, you can get decent value from him in the catching department as he appears in line for a solid but not an omg look at that crazy good line fueled by a .630 BABIP type season. On him, I say Yay.

Jason Hammel:

Hammel is coming off a strong start against Arizona last night which seems to have a lot of people in a hurry to pick him up. A 4-start sample (one of the few positives from what is looking to be another bad season for the Cubs) seems to have people convinced to overlook the last 8 years of slightly below average production and think that he could be breaking out and becoming a high level pitching option at age 31.

Me, i'm not convinced. His FIP (ability to prevent homers, walks, hit batsmen and induce strikeouts) is at 4.47 (which is actual higher than his career total of 4.33) and BABIP for opposing players is at a microscopic .132. In addition to basically being the same pitcher and being extremely lucky, his three wins have come against sub-.500 teams (Arizona, & two starts against Pittsburgh).

Hammel's strong early numbers appear to be more of a fluke than an indication that he figured things out as he moved onto the wrong side of 30. Let the opposition learn this the hard way as I say Nay.

All numbers, statistics, etc. found on

Yay or Nay: Alcides Escobar, Dayan Viciedo

Alcides Escobar:

Escobar is a player a remember relatively well from his days as a Brewer. While he did show plenty of promise with his speed and defense, the offensive side of the game is one where he experienced plenty of struggles. After going to Kansas City in the trade that brought Zach Greinke over to the Brewers, he continued to get regular playing time primarily due to his glove.

Escobar has been on a recent hot streak with his bat and he has a nice 129 OPS+ in his first 69 plate appearances. While he is at an age (27) when many players hit their peak, I am naturally a bit skeptical. His most similar player through age 26 is Cesar Izturis , a player that was never mistaken for a strong offensive player or someone who ever had much fantasy value.

In a best case scenario, he's not going to provide much power or get many rbi opportuntities (he's primarily hit ninth this year) so it comes down to whether he could provide enough in the batting average and stolen bases category to help your team. One red flag is that his BABIP (.380) is a bit high and will eventually take his batting average down with it. Also, he appears to be a player who has taken advantage of a soft schedule. While he has hit well against sub .500 teams, he is sporting a .572 OPS against teams with winning records. While I know there are less and less stolen base threats and that shortstop is historically a thin position, i'm still skeptical on Escobar's value going forward and i'm going to have to say Nay.

Dayan Viciedo:

For what it's worth, Viciedo comes into today as the AL Leader in batting average (.361) but hasn't hit for much power (1 homer in 68 plate appearances) with both of these trends being outside career norms for him. Over the last couple years, he's hit double figure homers but had a mediocre batting average and drew less than 30 walks each season, something that tends not to bode well in the long term.

The Tank is still only 25 though so it is possible that he is in the process of taking his game to the next level. His most similar player through age 24 is Mike Marshall who had a career year at age 25 .293/.342/.515 141 OPS+ 28 homers and Larry Walker is fourth on his similar list through age 24 so it is possible that better days are ahead for him.

While I think he is a decent option if you need power, as I suspected the batting average is not even close to being sustainable as his BABIP is in at (.429). One positive I see in Viciedo is he's not just padding his numbers against bad teams as he's done his best work against teams north of the .500 mark (1.036 OPS).

I think Viciedo could be a valuable pickup. While his batting average is going to regress, his strong performance against some of the better teams in the league leads me to believe that he's in for a better season. I think he will show some improvement in batting average ending up in the .270-.280 range while throwing in somewhere in the 20-25 home run range. For Viciedo, i'm going to say Yay.

All numbers, comparisons, etc. found on

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yay or Nay: Alfredo Simon, Jenrry Mejia

Alfredo Simon:

The second time in the last week that a long time-reliever turned starter (Jesse Chavez being the other) is a player that fantasy owners are adding left and right. Coming into this year, he did have a larger sample of starting games (16 for the 2011) Orioles. Simon's career has been trending in the right direction the last couple years as he had strong seasons coming out of the bullpen in 2012 & 2013.

The Reds may be off to a sluggish start (8-11 so far) but Simon can't be blamed for that as he has a 0.86 era/0.810 WHIP over his first three starts. Like with any fast start, there is going to be some obvious regression with the question being will the regression land him somewhere where he is still useful for fantasy owners.

His FIP over the first few starts is at 3.14 suggesting that he could be in the midst of a breakout season. The one thing that is a bit concerning is that his BABIP is uber low (.197) which will likely rear its ugly head and correct itself when least expected probably when he faces a much tougher line up (he's faced the Cubs, Mets & Rays) thus far. While I think people are over-reacting due to a hot three start stretch that is not to suggest he has no value. The strong FIP suggests that he can maintain a decent (though not star performance) as the season goes on and that he could be of use, for Simon, it's a Yay.

Jenrry Mejia:

The Mets are surprisingly not terrible right now (10-9) and early strong performance from Mejia (so far) has gone a long way towards this measure. Unlike Alfredo Simon, i'm a little more skeptical on Mejia maintaining a performance strong enough to justify fantasy value over the entire season.

The FIP is creeping up towards mid to back end of rotation level (3.84) and he's giving up way too many walks for comfort (5.6 per 9 this year, 4.0 per 9 in 105 career innings). For what its worth, he has pitched reasonably well in two starts against contending teams (Braves & Cardinals) but at the end of the day, the possible control issues are too much to overlook, for Mejia it's a nay.

All numbers found on

Monday, April 21, 2014

Yay or Nay: Justin Morneau, Kyle Farnsworth

Justin Morneau:

If this was between 2006-2009 this would be a no doubter as Morneau would be a Yay, he would have already been drafted and owners would not be in a scramble to get him added to the roster a few weeks into the season.

However, his 2010-2012 seasons were shortened by injury and while he did play 152 games last year, he wasn't playing at peak levels.

His time with the Colorado Rockies is off to a good start this year as he has had 4 homers, and a .344/.371/.609 line so far which is similar to what he did in 81 games in 2010 but is it something that we can expect over the course of this season?

The first thing I sorta suspected is that this could be a product of Coors field artificially inflating numbers. While he has played better at home, he is still mashing to the tune of a .873 OPS on the road which is a good sign. I also took a look at his BABIP seeing if it has gone crazy so far this year. While this total is a little high (.346) his batting average is in for some regression but even with that factored in a .280-.300 batting average still seems like a reasonable bet.

The one red flag I see is that he has done most of his damage against lower quality teams as 15 of the first 18 games so far were played against teams that are currently below .500. While he did struggle in the three games against over .500 teams those three games happened at AT&T Park which is notoriously bad for hitters of all shapes.

While I think his numbers will regress, I still think he could reasonably hit .280-.300 with 20-25 homers maybe closer to 30 if things break right for him. At the very least, he's at least worth a bench/utility spot and should be started at the very least against the lesser teams in the league.

Kyle Farnsworth:

The increase in the amount of owners (myself included) picking up Kyle Farnsworth off the waiver wire is tied to the news that he has replaced Jose Valverde as the Mets closer. It looks like the Mets are trying to catch lightning in a bottle as their first two options for closing (Bobby Parnell & Jose Valverde) have not worked out due to injury/ineffectiveness.

Even though Farnsworth does not have the most imposing career line (102 career ERA+) he was placed in a similar situation with the Rays in 2011 and returned some positive results (25 saves/173 ERA+). For Farnsworth, he's a yay only if you are absolutely desperate for saves (such as myself) where your bullpen has already been depleted by injuries and taken those injuries with a side of ineffectiveness.

While this being a smart move is far from guaranteed, he has pitched well so far in 9 games and has a nice 2.36 FIP (small sample size alert) and his .280 BABIP indicates that he may have another lighting in a bottle season from the Mets obvious not first choice as their closer again in 2014.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Yay or Nay: Chris Colabello, Wily Peralta

Chris Colabello:

As of this writing, Colabello owned in 44% of Yahoo leagues and has the most recent Adds according to their  Transaction Trends data. He had a very strong series against the Blue Jays and is off to a very strong start in general which has been a contributing factor to the Twins being initially in the mix for the AL Central.

Coming into 2014, Colabello was more of an unknown/feel good story as he spent several years in the independent leagues before getting a chance with the Twins and doing very well against minor league pitching.

He played in 55 games last year but was still under the radar as he had a sub-mendoza level batting average (.194) despite showing some decent pop in his bat (7 homers in 181 plate appearances).

While I think the power is legitimate enough for double figure home runs (even though he's shown more doubles power than home run power in 2014) with Colabello, there's absolutely no way this performance is holding up for more than a few weeks as his .463 BABIP is likely to regress sooner rather than later which means he aint' hitting .357 this year, he ain't ending the season leading the league in RBIs and he ain't one of those players that's going to break out to the point that they will single-handedly swing the outcome of fantasy leagues.

If he is available in your league, he may be worth picking to see if he can keep this hot streak going for a few weeks but in the long term there are better options and if you can sell high on him while his numbers still look good, even better. Overall, I would say Nay.

Wily Peralta:

Currently only owned in 21% of Yahoo Leagues. In 2013 he had his ups and downs getting as he had a very rough first half in 2013 but bounced back to have a strong second half.

The one risk with Peralta is that he seems to be prone to the big inning but at the eyeball level, he has shown lots of improvement over the first few starts. One thing i'd like to give kudos to baseball-reference for is showing pitcher's FIP next to their ERA for player pages.

While Peralta has passed the eyeball, and traditional fantasy statistic test (so far), he has yet to pass the FIP test as he has had a 4.58 FIP in his first few starts (this is actually worse than his 4.30 FIP from last year), he's also benefited from a .226 BABIP which is bound to go up and contribute to the inevitable regression.

The reality is that Peralta is bound for regression at some point, the main question is when will it happen and how much he will regress by. I think he's safe to do good for at least a couple starts as the next two Brewers opponents after this weekend are the Padres & Cubs. With Peralta, I think he's worth adding to your roster if you need starting pitching but i'd decide whether to have him in your starting line up on a start by start basis.

Through age 24, his most similar player is Kris Benson. Benson did good for himself in his age 25 season (121 ERA+), but got stuck with a 10-12 record playing for a bad Pirates team. However, he missed the next season being injured and while he did pitch until 2010, his age 25 season turned out to be his best.

Thus far, Peralta appears to be pretty durable. He does have the talent to stick around for a long time and be a consistently above average pitcher, the one question that remains unanswered is if he has the consistency to be a strong performer over the course of an entire season versus a couple months at a time.

Transaction Trend Numbers found on, numbers, comparisons, etc. found on

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Trendy or Trending: Jesse Chavez, Neil Walker

For today, i'm going to be looking at the Transaction Trends on Yahoo and discussing a couple players that are a runner up to George Springer in the most added player in fantasy (it's not even close). Last night, the story broke that the Astros are calling him up and I was able to get him picked up on my team (replacing bench player Chris Carter) before anyone else was able to get to him and I have a day to decide whether to keep him on the bench or which player on my team will get benched to give him a start (likely to be Michael Brantley)

2014 has been the first chance Chavez has had to start on a regular basis and in three starts he's been very good 1.35 ERA/0.85 WHIP276 ERA+. The one concerning thing on his profile is that he's already been in the MLB for seven years and there wasn't much to suggest he'd be a top level pitcher before this year (78 Career ERA+/1.41 Career WHIP).

Based off early data, he is due for some regression (.255 BABIP) but one early indicator that he may stick around as a starter is that opposing OPS goes down as he gets deeper into the pitch count.

I know that the A's generally know what their doing and he has had a nice start to the season, i'm still not sold on him as he has yet to demonstrate that this can hold up for an entire season, if you need starting pitching it would probably be best to look elsewhere.

I'm a bit surprised it has taken this long for people to pick up Neil Walker. He does play a position that is not very deep defensively in second base and he has produced above average offensive lines over the last four seasons. He has been a solid yet unspectacular player who usually hits for decent average and is good for about 15 home runs per season.

While his batting average is right on his career number (.273), he has seen an early up spike in power (5 in 59 at bats), which has given him a 140 OPS+. While I think the power is likely to slow down he does have a very low BABIP (.233), suggesting he could be in for a good year batting average wise sooner rather than later.

I've had Neil Walker on past teams, if he wasn't already taken in the league i'm in, I would give serious consideration to pick him up. One thing that is easily forgotten is that he is still young (28) and may be in line to have that one career year. His most similar player through age 27 is Bret Boone. While Boone was absolutely brutal during his age 28 year and ended up with a lower career OPS+ than what Walker has right now (101 vs. 112), Boone also had two seasons where he absolutely crushed it and had an OPS+ of 140 or above. Worst case, Walker gives you solid production for a second baseman, best case he has a career year where everything goes right and you get very strong value off the waiver wire.

Monday, April 14, 2014

4.14 Random Sampling

Some of the games i'll be keeping an eye on tonight

Diamondbacks vs. Mets

Arizona managed to come away with a couple of nice road wins against the Giants last week but at least for the weekend they are back to underachieving, a .628 OPS from my starting catcher Miguel Montero isn't exactly helping things along.

The Mets continue their west coast swing. After splitting a couple of tough extra inning games over the weekend, they lost pretty horribly yesterday. If they are going to be better than expected and if my fantasy team has hopes of finishing better than 9th, David Wright is going to need to improve on his .609 OPS.

Nationals vs. Marlins

The Nationals got swept over the weekend and find themselves back in second place. One player that you can't blame for this and my being in ninth place is Jayson Werth who came up with a grand slam the other day and comes into today sporting a .952 OPS and a 158 OPS+.

The Marlins, well the whole the Marlins might be surprisingly good was fun for the first week or so as they have re-united with last place for now (though the Mets may be competing for the affection of last place).

Angels vs. Athletics

Speaking of teams in familiar places, the Angels find themselves right at .500 and right at third place. One player you can't blame is Mike Trout who has continued to be his super-human self 1.022 OPS/191 OPS+ over the first couple weeks of the season.

The Athletics may have a low payroll and one of the worst stadiums left out there but they are also in first place. One player that has helped them in their first place efforts is Sonny Gray who has been lights out in 3 starts .95 ERA/1.21 WHIP/396 ERA+

Brewers vs. Cardinals

The Brewers are coming off a sweep of the rival Pirates and have now won nine consecutive games as the Brewers have won 10 of their first 12 this season and 15 of their last 19 since Zeplen was born. As sweet as getting nine wins in a row is, getting 10 through 12 against the Cardinals will be even sweeter.

Friday, April 11, 2014

4.11 Random Sampling

Some of the series i'll be keeping an eye on this weekend:

Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers

The D-Backs got their second consecutive win but are still in last place. I did catch some of the D-Backs/Giants game last night as I listened from about the third to the sixth inning. The game was pretty entertaining and the Giants had a 1-run lead by the time I went to sleep but by about 9:45 I was to tired to pay attention to anything other than sleep

Blue Jays vs. Orioles

AKA the one AL East match up that's not going to be all over national television this weekend. That being said nobody in the AL East has gotten off to a scorching start thus far and if either of these teams is looking to make a surprise playoff run, a nice series sweep would be a good place to start. Also, if Edwin Encarnacion could improve on his 6 for 37 start, that would be great too.

Mets vs. Angels

The Mets are limping along to a 4-5 start and it would be nice if David Wright would get his OPS+ above 79 and get past his slow start or else I might be in 11th place in Fantasy for awhile. The Angels got a large setback as Josh Hamilton is out 6 to 8 weeks, right when it seemed like he was bouncing back from a rough first season in Anaheim.

Nationals vs. Braves

The Nationals in addition to being off to a 7-2 start, also get the award (thus far) for doing the most to help my fantasy team's efforts as getting grand slams on back to back days from Ian Desmond and Jayson Werth have helped give me a slight advantage in homers and a nice lead in the both of you, keep up the good work.

Indians vs. White Sox

A fairly important early season series for both teams as they are 5-5 and tied for second. Granted, this battle will more determine who's going to finish second to the Tigers in the AL Central but these teams have 152 games left, anything can happen.

Royals vs. Twins

Another AL Central divisional battle. The Royals are also sharing second place with the Indians and White Sox and have an opportunity to pad their record against what is looking to be another weak Twins team.

Brewers vs. Pirates

While I realize there is a lot of baseball left to be played, I am VERY happy with how the season started. Wednesday night, Me, Heather & Zeplen were watching the Brewers-Phillies game, it was the eighth inning and we were in the middle of a conversation about an unrelated topic. From the TV, we heard the volume of boos go up very high and  my first thought was, I guess Ryan Braun is now batting. As he was hitting a 2-run triple to put the Brewers up 7-4, I was making the point that it seemed contradictory for the Phillies to boo Braun as two of their players in their starting line up that night (Carlos Ruiz & Marlon Byrd) had previously been suspended for usage of Stimulants/PEDs and their starting pitcher (Roberto Hernandez/Fausto Carmona) previously got busted using a fake that exact moment Zeplen made a noise that totally sounded like he was saying "yeah"

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

4.9 Random Sampling

Some of the games i'll be keeping an eye on today

Diamondbacks vs. Giants

The Diamondbacks are off to a less than inspiring start while the Giants continue to grasp a hold onto first place. Speaking of the Giants, Heather and I just got tickets to see the Brewers-Giants game on August 31st...yaaaay.

Starting tonight for the Giants is Tim Lincecum. I actually saw him start a game in 2008 against the Brewers. It wasn't his best day on the mound as he gave up five runs that day, three of those coming on a three run homer by Ryan Braun.

Blue Jays vs. Astros

The Blue Jays may have an okay 4-4 record but i'm not exactly okay with how they are getting there. I got Edwin Encarnacion (who's a little sluggish so far) and Brett Lawrie (who's off to a worse start...-25 OPS+) but then again small sample sizes can be funky and these stretches would be less noticeable if they didn't happen so early in the season. I think Encarnacion starts mashing the ball sooner or later but Lawrie's spot on my fantasy team long term is less than guaranteed at this point.

Mets vs. Braves

If the Mets do find a way to win today, they would find themselves in a tie for third place. For the Braves, they get  their first start from Ervin Santana and the first glimpse of how justified paying him $14 million this year is going to be.

Nationals vs. Marlins

I'm very pleased with how Gio Gonzales has pitched in his first couple starts this year, (even if i'm not pleased about being in 11th place after the first week). So far, the Nationals have been as good as advertised but a loss to the Marlins tonight would put the Marlins back in first place.

Angels vs. Mariners

I caught a little bit of their game last night and did see Corey Hart blast his third homer of the year. If the Mariners are going to surprise people and stay in first place, they'll probably need Hart to hit 25-30 more of those by year's end.

Royals vs. Rays

The Royals have yet to hit a home run this year but today may be a good day as anyto hit one out. The AL East in general may be off to a sluggish start. The Rays coming off a low scoring win yesterday, which was enough to give them first place for another day.

Indians vs. Padres

We're a week and a half into the season and the Indians are already on their second double header. I was watching quick pitch this morning and they showed the end of this game from last night where John Axford got the last batter to fly out to Nyjer Morgan, for a few moments I sort of had a flashback to the 2011 Brewers.

Brewers vs. Phillies

And the winning streak is up to four...yay...hopefully today it will go up to five and the only question is whether 6-2 will be needed to keep sharing first place or for the Brewers to have it to themselves for more than a few hours.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4.8 Random Sampling

The Random Sampling of games i'm keeping an eye on:

All numbers, stats, etc. listed found on

Diamondbacks vs. Giants

If this was a video game, i'm sure the Diamondbacks would have pushed the reset button this season, but they can't. So far their best hitter by OPS+ has been Mark Trumbo who has a 214 OPS+ so far. While his power has been proven to be very legitimate this year and could lead the league in homers, there's no way he's hitting .314 the rest of the way. I'd give it a 5% chance he's their best hitter at year end.

The Giants have first place for now (though the conventional wisdom is that gets relinquished to the mighty Dodgers at some point even though the Giants just took two of three in LA last weekend). The Giants best hitter so far has been Angel Pagan who has a 202 OPS+. While I think he'll have a good season, if he's their best offensive player by year end, something probably went wrong and there's 2% chance he's their best hitter at years end.

Blue Jays vs. Astros

The Blue Jays are off to a 3-4 start for what its worth. Their best hitter so far with a 236 OPS+ is Adam Lind. So far, he's been able to build off the momentum of a strong spring and strong 2013. I'd give him a 25% chance that he's their best hitter at the end of the season.

The Astros are also 3-4 (and like the Blue Jays have a 2-5 pythagorean record) though i'm pretty sure that's an over achievement in itself. Their best hitter so far is Dexter Fowler who has a 342 OPS+. On most teams, I don't think Fowler would end the season as the team's best hitter but this is the Astros wer'e talking about so i'm giving it a 50% chance.

Mets vs. Braves

The Mets were not expected to contend and they have done little to change that assertion so far. Their best hitter so far is Juan Lagares. This is our classic case of fun with small sample sizes (a bigger sample size shows that he had a .727 OPS in the minor leagues). The chances of him being their best hitter at years end is <1%.

The Braves (despite all their injuries) are doing good so far (though they'll need to score more than 2.5 runs per game going forward). Their best hitter so far is Freddie Freeman who comes in at a 281 OPS+. The chance of him being their best hitter at years end is 80%.

Marlins vs. Nationals

Due to a good first week form the Marlins, tonight's game will determine who will be in first place when we wake up tomorrow. One thing that has been a surprise is that Casey McGehee has a 205 OPS+ which has even topped Giancarlo Stanton's first week. The chances of this holding up all season is <1% but he still could have himself a very solid season similar to what he did for the Brewers in 2009 & 2010.

The Nationals best hitter so far is Adam LaRoche who has himself a 188 OPS+ which breaks the stereotype of terrible first half/awesome second half.. Even if this is a career year, there's still <10% chance he ends the season as their best hitter.

Angels vs. Mariners

The Angels are at 3-4 though their Pythagorean record says it should be reversed. Their best hitter so far is Josh Hamilton who has a 304 OPS+. While it is encouraging that Hamilton has this season started on the right foot, chances of him being their best hitter at season end is <5% which can mostly be attributed to his name not being Mike Trout.

The Mariners are 4-2 and the early results indicate that their off-season spending spree is paying off. Their best hitter so far has been Robinson Cano who is getting paid a lot of money to be the best. The chance of him being the best hitter at year end is 90%.

Indians vs. Padres

The Indians seem to struggle to avoid getting rained out and have their second double header to play tomorrow. So far, their best hitter has been Lonnie Chisenhall. This may be the year he displays some of the promise that he showed in the minors but at best has a 15% chance to be his teams best player.

The Padres are over achieving (sadly) based on their Pythagorean record and their best hitter so far has been Seth Smith. When your best hitter is basically a platoon player, that's not a good sign and i'd give it less than a 10% chance that he's their best hitter at year end.

Royals vs. Rays

The Royals best hitter so far has been Salvador Perez. Maybe he does take another step forward. Still, there are other hitters with higher ceiling and I give it a 40% chance that he is their best hitter at year's end.

The Rays best hitter so far has been Matthew Joyce. While he has been an above average hitter the last few years, he has a less then 1% chance to be the best Rays hitter at years end, mainly because his name is not Evan Longoria.

Brewers vs. Phillies

One week into the season, i'm happy with how the Brewers are looking. Before opening day, my feeling was on a scale of 1-10 on contending, the Brewers were about a 3. I've inched that up to a 4 (i'm encouraged by the strong starting pitching, the weekend sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway but there are still some lingering concerns that need to sort themselves out if they're going to contend such as Ryan Braun's thumb injury, Jim Henderson's struggles and making sure Jean Segura just had a bad day and his Saturday is not a sign of future struggles).

That being said, their best hitter over the first week was Jonathan Lucroy. While he is continuing to improve, i'd give him a 25% chance of being their best hitter at season end.

The Phillies best hitter so far has been Chase Utley. I'm giving him a 60% chance of him being their best hitter at season end, i'd go higher but it's far from guaranteed that he won't get injured and miss significant time.

Monday, April 7, 2014

4.7 Random Sampling

Today's (limited) sample of games i'm keeping my eye on:

Angels (Wilson) vs. Astros (Cosart)

The irrational over-reaction to the first week for the Angels is that they are expensive, old & under-achieving (except for Mike Trout of course). The Angels are starting C.J. Wilson. Hopefully he's spent as much time preparing for this start as he has spent on those Head & Shoulders commercials.

The irrational over-reaction to the Astros first week is that maybe this is the year where they stop being terrible and some of the minor league talent they have been assembling over the last few years starts putting up major league numbers. Jarred Cosart makes his 12th career start today. One thing that has been concealed  by playing for a bad team is that Cosart has been very, very good so far (1.80 ERA/225 ERA+).

Indians (Kluber) vs. Padres (Erlin)

The irrational over-reaction to the Indians first week is that while they're not as terrible as they were before Terry Francona came to town, they may have taken a step back from last year.

The irrational over-reaction to the Padres first week is that any hopes of them being a surprise contender in the NL West is gone, gone, gone.

Royals (Vargas) vs. Rays (Moore)

The irrational over-reaction to the Royals is that they can't win close games and that is going to prevent them from having their second consecutive winning season and thus hoping to contend in what has been a Detroit dominated AL Central.

The irrational over-reaction to the Rays first week is that the AL East is struggling but the Rays are (slightly) going to be ahead of the curve.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

4.3 Random Sampling

The sample of games i'll be keeping an eye on today:

Diamondbacks (1-4) vs. Giants (2-1)

The Giants took back the advantage in this series (for now) with a 2-0 win over Arizona as they got a strong first start from Tim Hudson. With a weekend series coming up against the Dodgers, we will get a better glimpse of what chance (if any) they have of bouncing back and contending for a playoff spot.

Blue Jays (2-1) vs. Rays (1-2)

In small sample size headlines, the Blue Jays go into today in first place (though it would be very surprising if their stay in first place was for an extended amount of time.

Mets (0-2) vs. Nationals (2-0)

Even if its a small sample size, there is nothing shocking about the Mets being in last place and the Nationals being in first. It looks like the Nationals are on track to complete the sweep and get back to the post-season

Royals (0-2) vs. Tigers (2-0)

The Royals have hope of being contenders but losing consecutive extra inning games to start the season isn't exactly putting themselves on the right foot

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

4.2 Random Sampling: Night Game Edition

The night games that i'll be keeping an eye on are as follows:

Rays (1-1) vs. Blue Jays (1-1)

The Blue Jays evened up their series, placing both of these teams at .500. With the Blue Jays, the not so good is that Edwin Encarnacion & Brett Lawrie are a combined 0 for 15 over the first two games. The good is that my waiver wire pickup Sergio Santos converted his first save opportunity yesterday. The, I hope this doesn't haunt the Brewers in the future, the Blue Jays signed ex-Brewer Juan Francisco to a minor league deal.

I was surprised that the Francisco lost out on a roster spot to Lyle Overbay. Yes Francisco is not very good defensively and is inconsistent but I felt that he at least had more upside between these two players.

Mets (0-1) vs. Nationals (1-0)

On Monday, Bobby Parnell blew a save in the Mets eventual loss to the Nationals. Yesterday, there was even worse news as he was diagnosed with a partial tear of the medical collateral ligament in his right elbow (which I found out about on Yahoo!). Due to this uncertainty, he got dropped from my fantasy roster and replaced by his replacement Jose Valverde.

Giants (1-1) vs. Diamondbacks (1-3)

The Giants become the first team to be adversely impacted by the quirks of the new replay rules and it ended up being the difference in a 1-run loss. The Diamondbacks broke into the win column last night but are still looking up at three other teams in the NL West.

Angels (0-2) vs. Mariners (2-0)

The Mariners spent a lot of money in the hopes of contending in the AL West and so far, they are looking pretty sharp. Can they become the first AL Team to make it to 3-0?

4.2 Random Sampling: Day Game Edition

Some of the day games of interest:

Royals (0-1) vs. Tigers (1-0)

The Tigers are coming off a nice comeback win on Monday over the Royals. The Royals did get a decent start out of James Shields but they needed better than decent to win on Monday. Better luck today.

Brewers (1-1) vs. Braves (1-1)

Well, being undefeated didn't last long. I did catch the 2nd and 3rd inning of this game while I was passing time before my Toastmasters meeting last night. The part I caught featured the Brewers broadcast team discussing talent in the minor league system and Kyle Lohse looking very sharp on the mound. They were up 1-0 while I was watching which gave me hope of the Brewers starting 2-0, but it did not seem meant to be.

Indians (1-0) vs. Athletics (0-1)

We had ourselves our first rain out of the season and have ourselves our first double header (assuming the weather holds) today. As of 7:45 AM, it is raining pretty down as I write this (about four hours away from Oakland), so we'll see if they get both of these games in.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

4.1 Random Sampling

The handful of games that i'll have my eye on today:

Blue Jays (0-1) vs. Rays (1-0)

The Tampa Bay Rays got their season started off on the right foot. For the Blue Jays, it may only be one game but they are already behind the eight ball. Casey Janssen was placed on the disabled list to start the season. As I had him on my fantasy team, I had to make an adjustment and was able to pick up his replacement for now (Sergio Santos) off of the waiver wire. The best-case scenario for this is that his performance resembles what he did last year 236 ERA+, .584 WHIP, 9.8 K/9 and this turns out to be one of those sneaky good moves that makes me look like a genius.

Brewers (1-0) vs. Braves (0-1)

I was definitely happy to see the Brewers season start out on the right foot. I was able to catch about a half inning of this game while eating lunch and Yovani Gallardo seemed to be on top of things. Also, with  this being Ryan Braun's first regular season game after his suspension, he did get a standing ovation in his first plate appearance. This led to commentators from all over the place to insult Brewers fans (not cool) and try to play moral police and say who we should and should not cheer for. It's one thing to get on Braun's case for things that have been done but let the fans cheer if they feel like cheering.

It was also revealed that it was decided sometime yesterday that Jim Henderson lost the closer job to K-Rod. I'm glad that this decision is paying off initially as K-Rod converted his first save opportunity. Since I had Henderson on my fantasy team, I decided to act quick and add Matt Lindstrom who won the closer job for the White Sox.

Diamondbacks (0-3) vs. Giants (1-0)

I was able to catch parts of this game (thanks to the At Bat app on my phone that came along with my subscription). While doing dishes last night, I was listening in the 2nd/3rd inning when Angel Pagan drove in the games first run. I went back to watching the game in the seventh inning right as Brad Ziegler was giving up a game-tying bases loaded walk. I was watching on my phone until the bottom of the 8th inning when I was getting ready to go to sleep. Since I was still interested in what was going on with this game, I switched to the audio feed on KNBR as I was drifting off to sleep land (but not before Buster Posey hit a go-ahead two run homer).

Angels (0-1) vs. Mariners (1-0)

While I was paying more attention to the Giants/Diamondbacks game on my phone, I also caught part of the Angels/Mariners game (which was on ESPN and one of the local sports channels). This game also appeared to be pretty close when I was awake but it appears that the Mariners pulled away (which I didn't know about until I woke up).

Indians (1-0) vs. Athletics (0-1) 

Out of the three games that were going on from about 9-9:45 PM last night, this game was the odd one out that I wasn't watching it (even though this game also turned out to be entertaining). Either way, I was happy to see that Sonny Gray pitched six very strong innings (though he did not get that arbitrary win). It also looks like John Axford is off to a good start as he got the save for the Indians.