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.