Monday, June 30, 2014

Introducing the Zeplen Dean System: Catchers

Over the last several months, I have been writing about the going on's of the baseball season which has veered into players who are getting picked up in fantasy and why some players were better picks than others.

I'm in the early stages of looking at the numbers and using this to quantify which players are better than others. Slowly but surely, i'm building up a player database and using elements combining year to date with career factors with factors such as BABIP, Walk Rate, Runs per Plate Appearance, Home Runs per Plate appearance, etc. in these efforts. which produces a Raw Score w

The First position i've worked on is Catchers and the criteria I used for this list (which will build as the year progresses I realize this process is close from complete)

-75 or more hits
-5 or more home runs
-plus additional players that are getting added frequently.

For Catchers, there are only 11 that qualify under these so far (again I realize far from comprehensive) and broken down into the following tiers:

The Top Choice

1-Buster Posey (58.32)

The Next Best Options (>50)

2-Devin Mesoraco
3-Jonathan Lucroy
4-Miguel Montero
5-Brian McCann

Okay Options (45-49)

6-Salvador Perez
7-Yan Gomes

Stretching It (41-45)

8-Dioner Navarro
9-Wilson Ramos
10-Yadier Molina

You Can Definitely Do Better (<40)

11-Jason Castro

For the most part, this breakdown makes logical sense with a couple of exceptions.

Devin Mesoraco is ranked higher (#2) than I expected. I equalized the data to 650 plate appearances and the formula I have projects 37 home runs for him. This is telling me that I'm probably putting too much emphasis on current season data.

The other shocker is that Yadier Molina was ranked very low (#10 out of 11). In looking at the details, he got weighted down by career ISO which is one of the factors I used but wasn't counter weighed by the fact that he has developed more power over the last few seasons than he had from 2004-2010. 


--Currently I appear to be overemphasizing this season's data especially as it pertains to someone with a limited sample size of career plate apperances

--I also think I may need to emphasize factors such as ISO over a shorter period (i.e. 3 years) as this is impacting the rankings of players such as Yadier Molina that have been around for a decade and have improved/evolved as hitters during this time frame.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Musings, Ramblings and Other Stuff: Jesse Hahn

Jesse Hahn:

What He's Done to Get Picked up in Fantasy:

Pitch very strongly in three consecutive starts (after struggling in his debut). Currently, the owner of a shiny 2.38 ERA & 1.06 WHIP.

What to Expect Going Forward:

One area that needs to be taken into account is that his last three starts have been made in notoriously pitching friendly parks (San Diego, San Francisco & New York). Of course this doesn't mean that advantage is going away soon as Hahn is going to have a head start on ERA versus similar pitchers as he gets to pitch half of his games at Petco Park (very awesome stadium by the way).

If I would have looked at his track record upon his call up, I would have been a bit skeptical as he got called up straight from AA (similar to my skepticism regarding Marco Gonzales).

In this case, he does have the Petco advantage and while he has gotten lucky on the BABIP side of things (.255) it's not an uber-extreme advantage. Assuming a BABIP of .300 the rest of the way (1.17 higher than .255), this factor multiplied by his current ERA would place him at 2.8 which is between his FIP and xFIP totals.
One factor that could favor him keeping his ERA very low for the rest of the year as he has been a bit unlucky in giving up homers (15.4% HR/FB ratio). If this total comes down this could counteract any side effects from BABIP related regression (though I find it a bit ambitious for the 10.72 K/9 to hold up for the rest of the season).

The Padres have definitely struggled (especially on the offense side) and are currently 34-44 and playing for the future. It has been so bad that it has already cost their former General Manager Josh Byrnes his job and who knows whether this season will cost Bud Black his job too. It is clear that the Padres have hit the throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks stage of the season and based on the early returns it appears they found a winner in Jesse Hahn. The Padres may be beyond hope of getting themselves into contention but Hahn appears to have the stuff to help fantasy owners keep their teams in contention all summer long.

All numbers, statistics, etc. found on either or

Musings, Ramblings and Other Stuff: J.D. Martinez

J.D. Martinez:

What He's Done to Get Picked Up in Fantasy:

Go on a pretty epic hot streak. Basically, hit the cover off the ball and be on an impressive power binge (five homers in his last eight games) and an OPS over .900 in eight of his last 10 games which has helped push his batting average up to .314.

I still remember watching the game where he made his MLB debut. He was with the Astros at the time and they were playing the Brewers. He came up to the plate and neither the people operating the scoreboard at Miller Park nor the announcers could figure out his name and I was thinking to myself  "easy out". Martinez got the last laugh for that time being as he ended up hitting a double in that plate appearance but the Brewers still prevailed that day despite hitting Felipe Lopez fifth and letting Yuniesky Betancourt play defense.

What To Expect Going Forward:

He may stay on this hot streak for a little bit more time but regression is going to find him, a matter of if, not when. He is being fueled by a .367 BABIP (career total is .314). I'm thinking that the batting average is closer to the .270 range by the time this season is over.

One thing to see is whether he is actually improved his approach at the plate (besides being very fortunate over the last couple weeks). This appears to be a definite no as his BB/K ratio is actually worse this year than it is for his career. Another related red flag/risk to keep an eye out on is that he has gotten less selective which could make any future cold streaks very brutal as he has increased the percentage of pitches he has swung at outside the strike zone this year.

The one possible upside is maybe he improves his power totals going forward as he has hit less ground balls this year (38%) versus his career total (45%).

Still his HR/FB ratio is almost two times his career total and he's not going to hit homers on a regular basis forever. Assuming he continues to get decent playing time I could see him ending up in the 20-25 homer range (especially with the nice head start he has gotten). Either way, the Tigers have gotten very good value out of someone they signed to the league minimum while everyone was sleeping off their new years hangovers. Regression or not, they did well for themselves on a signing that was likely an after thought to the average fan.

With Brett Lawrie getting injured, (I moved him into the Disabled List slot instead of dropping him), I had an extra roster spot for offense and used that to pick up Martinez. While my expectations are modest he seems to be a decent source of power even if the batting average is a mirage and his stolen bases are non-existent.

While his most similar player (per his Baseball-Reference page), Chet Ross did not have a very long career (he played his last game at age 27) there are a few players on this list (George Foster, Ben Oglivie & Gorman Thomas) that went on to have fairly productive careers.

So far, Martinez has played a surprising contributing role on a Tigers team that while they are in first place (as expected), they have been nowhere near as dominant as everyone thought they would be this year. Martinez is not going to be an MVP but he appears on line to come out of 2014 with better than expected stats.

All numbers, stats mentioned found on either or

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Musings, Ramblings and Other Stuff: Josh Harrison

Josh Harrison:

What He's Done To Get Picked Up in Fantasy:

He's gotten hits in the last three games and thrown in a balance of power and speed in the process. Also, having the batting average over .300 (.304), with some speed, a little pop in his bat (all while having eligibility at second base) along with third base and outfield.

What To Expect Going Forward:

While he has been one of the few players that has performed strongly against the Brewers, he doesn't get to play all his games against them. One encouraging sign of progress is that he has improved his walk rate over his previous years in the majors. I think his batting average will see some regression to the .270-.280 range (his .333 BABIP is the highest he's posted in the majors so far) and I could see him reaching double figures for homers and steals assuming that he continues to find playing time.

Overall, Harrison seems to have made progress this year compared to 2011-2013 as this is his first year he's on track to have an above average OPS+. The key with him is does he continue to get consistent playing time and how this gets impacted if he struggles for a little bit? He's definitely worth looking into due to being eligible in the wasteland that is second base but he would probably have to demonstrate a continued improvement in plate discipline to continuing to improve overall performance. If he wasn't already picked up in my league, I would have given serious consideration to adding him as I was in the search for a second baseman due to Brett Lawrie getting injured. For the time being, I had to settle for Gordan Beckham.

The Pirates have worked their way to .500 and are currently three games out of the last wild card spot. If they want to make a push for a repeat playoff appearance, they will likely need Harrison to continue to hit very strongly regardless of what role that happens to be in (along with an improvement in starting pitching).

Among players drafted in the sixth round of the 2008 MLB Draft, he currently leads in WAR (3.4) and if he continues improving he should further solidify this position.

All numbers referenced found on or

Musings, Ramblings & Other Stuff: Marco Gonzales

Marco Gonzales:

What He's Done To Get Picked Up in Fantasy Leagues:

A combined product of a rash of injuries to the St. Louis Cardinals starting rotation and very strong numbers in the minor leagues (albeit in a limited sample size).

What To Expect Going Forward:

Enough people seem excited about him to add them to his team. I'm not one of those people. While he has pitched very well in the minor leagues since being drafted last year, none of these starts have been make above AA and only seven of these starts have been made against A batters. While he looks like he can at least rack up some strike outs, his first start in the transition from facing AA competition to going to the majors is going to happen in Coors Field.

As he was a first round draft pick last year and has shown early promising results, I think the future for Gonzales is bright and he is capable of having a very solid major league career, I just don't think he's ready to be a top flight pitcher just yet. My guess is that he gets a rude welcoming in Coors Field tomorrow but may have a better opportunities when pitching in a loss hostile stadium towards pitchers (i.e. anywhere other than Coors).

Then again, since this is the St. Louis Cardinals and occasionally it seems like they have top flight starting pitchers growing on trees as they play the game "the right way" which generally means being overly serious and not liking it when other teams appear to be having fun while playing baseball. Despite these things there appears to be  an effective method to their madness in that they always find ways to win consistently and for all I know he could come out of nowhere and be one of the best pitchers going forward.

Currently, the Cardinals are sitting at second place at 4 1/2 games behind and if the season ended today would be in line to play the Wild Card game against the Dodgers (in a battle of two teams i'm not crazy about). While the Wild Card is likely a consolation prize for the Cardinals, they seem set to spend the next few months in a pretty intense battle in the NL Central against the Brewers. The Cardinals put a damper on the best Brewers season since i've been alive a few years ago, will Gonzales contribute to that happening again in 2014?

All numbers referenced found on either fangraphs or

Friday, June 20, 2014

Musings, Ramblings and Other Stuff: Mark Melancon

Mark Melancon:

What he's done to get picked up in fantasy:

In this case it is more of what did Clint Hurdle do to make Melancon a trendy fantasy baseball pick up (in this case remove Jason Grilli from the closer role) on what is a "temporary basis", it doesn't hurt that he already has 10 saves to his name and a shiny 1.89 ERA & 0.78 WHIP.

What to expect going forward:

His ERA is somewhat lower due to an .211 opposing BABIP but even looking beyond that , he has pitched good enough this year (2.46 FIP/2.88 xFIP) to indicate that he can be reasonably expected to pitch strongly the rest of the season and enough of a track record to indicate that he is capable of handling the pressures of being the designated ninth-inning pitcher.

If he does continue to outperform his strong peripheral statistics,  he will need to maintain a low line drive rate (16.9% this year versus 21.3% career total). Bottom line, Melancon is a solid pick up if you need help in the saves category for however long he holds onto the closing gig.

For being a pseudo wild-card contender (35-37 record and 3 1/2 games behind the last wild card spot) the Pirates seem to be doing better in having players that are getting picked up by several fantasy baseball owners (Charlie Morton was one of the trendy pick ups from yesterday).

Back in 2006, Melancon was a ninth round draft pick (albeit from the Yankees). While he has pitched elsewhere in his career (with the exception of 15 games), Melancon has thus far been successful in the context of ninth round picks in that years draft as the only player from that round with a higher career WAR is David Freese.

No matter how long he holds onto this closer role and how successful he is during this time, one thing for certain is that he's not going to get the all time saves lead for pitchers who went to the University of Arizona as that happens to be the same school that Trevor Hoffman went to.

All numbers, stats, etc. referenced found on either or

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Musings, Ramblings and Other Stuff: Charlie Morton

Charlie Morton:

Why he's a trendy Fantasy Baseball Pick Right Now:

He's pitched well over the last month, (two earned runs or less allowed in his last five starts) and has a nice 3.09 ERA. It also doesn't hurt that his next start is tomorrow against a pretty weak Cubs team.

What to Expect Going Forward:

Some regression but not a complete drop off in performance. He has been slightly lucky on opposing BABIP (.281 versus .313 career) and he's getting lucky on the fly balls turning into homers (7% this year versus 9.9%) career. Still, even with regression factored in, he still looks to be a decent mid to back rotation pitcher on a contending team (or as it turns out the best pitcher on a Pirates team with what has been a struggling starting rotation thus far). His FIP/xFIP indicate that his ERA are likely to be near the 3.75-4 range going forward. I think he'll continue this good stretch against the Cubs but he's going to have some struggles sooner rather than later.

There doesn't seem to be any major changes to how opposing hitters are hitting him as his line drive, ground ball and fly ball rates are all within career ranges. The only real change to his approach is that he's throwing slightly more curveballs than he has in his career (which could possibly help in keeping the regression to a minimum) even then it's not a career high. One interesting thing to note is that he is on track to lead the NL in hit batsmen for the second consecutive year. Point being, he doesn't appear to be any better or worse than he has been the last few years.

While Morton has pitched relatively well (and will likely continue to at least be productive if not a star), the Pirates have under-achieved based on the high expectations set on them after making the playoffs last year. In looking at the team stats on baseball-reference it is easy to see why as he is the only starting pitcher on the Pirates with an ERA+ above 100 (115).

If the Pirates want to make some noise in either the NL Central or Wild Card race they will need Morton's nice stretch to continue for an extended amount of time and hope that Cole (one of my least favorite players after his Carlos Gomez incident) and Liriano are productive once they are activated from the disabled list and maybe go back in time and call up Gregory Polanco in April (or not since I enjoyed the Brewers dominating the Pirates for much of the early season).

One interesting thing to note is that out of players drafted in the third round in the 2002 draft, Morton has the lowest career WAR primarily due to a couple of terrible seasons in 2008 & 2010. While his career WAR is sub-replacement level, he can reverse this with another year or two of solid if not unspectacular pitching.

One thing that is probably out of reach is being the best player drafted in the third round of the 2002 draft (an honor that Curtis Granderson holds and has no threat to have relinquished).

All numbers, data, etc referenced found on and/or

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Musings Ramblings and other stuff: Brock Holt

Brock Holt:

What he's done to get picked up in fantasy leagues:

He's got himself a shiny batting average of .338, some stolen bases and position eligibility at first base which is chronically starved for base stealers. He does have six multi-hit games since the 8th of June.

Is this going to come close to holding up in the long term:

In a word, no well unless you think a .410 BABIP is going to hold up in the long term.. Once that goes, the batting average starts to fade, yeah there will be some stolen bases but unlike most players with 1B, 3B or OF eligibility, there isn't much power for him to fall back on in this scenario and it appears there isn't much defensive strength to fall back on.

Best case scenario is he keeps his batting average in the .260-.280 range, manages to steal 15-20 bases and pops maybe a handful of home runs. Good enough to stay in the majors for awhile? Sure Good enough to regularly hold a starting job once the Red Sox have a season where they are major contenders? Probably not.

Has he turned a small corner without it being blatantly obvious? Possible but not likely. Compared to 2012/2013 he has hit slightly more line drives and most importantly has continued to decrease the ground balls being hit. My instinct thinks that a best case scenario may be him turning out to be a James Loney caliber player most likely scenario is that he becomes a journeyman utility infielder.

When he got traded along with Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox, it was likely more as a throw in but even the modest sample size of success he has had over the last month has been more than what they got out of Hanrahan (thought the Red Sox are still on the short side of this trade).

He may not become a star but for being a 9th round pick in the 2009 MLB draft, he's still turned out pretty good as he is one of six players from that round year in the MLB and amongst those only Aaron Loup and Chase Anderson have a higher WAR.

All numbers, etc referenced found on either or

Musings, Ramblings and Other Stuff: Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta:

Why he's getting picked up in Fantasy:

Eight starts into the season and he's given up less than three runs in six of them. It also helps that he's racking up decent strikeout totals and a 2.09 ERA never hurts either.

What to expect going forward:

Coming into this year, Arrieta had the appearance of just another back-end starting pitcher. I was able to jump on top of things and pick him up last night (thus benefiting from a very strong performance yesterday, 1 win, 11 K's...oh yeah).

There is some evidence that he has turned the corner as he is inducing more ground balls and even his FIP & xFIP are both below 3. Even better, there is some evidence that this improvement is not a pure byproduct of good luck as his BABIP is .325 indicating his numbers could have even been better coming into today with better luck.

An ERA around 2 and 11 K's per start is probably too much to expect going forward but his luck in HR/FB% may catch up to him sooner rather than later. I think he'll be a good source of strikeouts but the ERA will likely settle in the 3-3.25 range.

The one change this year (versus past seasons is that he is getting a higher amount of ground balls 52% this year versus 44% career though the corresponding decrease has come in fly balls but not line drives which would have been even more helpful going forward.

It appears he's also adjusted how he's approaching opposing hitters as he's decreased emphasis on his fastball while increasing the amount of cutters, curveballs & changeups that he's throwing.

While his numbers prior to this year indicate he is having a substantial fluke season, I think there is enough in the numbers to indicate that he has turned the corner and is in the middle of a quietly good season.

Seeing that he is one of the few bright spots on what has been another tough season for the Cubs, maybe he doesn't stay with the Cubs and they decide to flip him to a contending team for prospects.

One of the interesting things to note is that if this is indeed his breakout occurring, he would be bucking some historical trends as his most similar pitchers through age 27 listed on baseball-reference are littered with non-household names such as Micah Owings and Blake Stein.

Still, for being drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, Arrieta has done okay for himself as he's tied for third in career WAR amongst players drafted in the fifth round of that years draft (Marlins pitcher Steve Chisek) leading the pack in this area and if he continues the momentum he has had from the first couple of month's this season, he should continue to go up this list.

All numbers, etc, found on either &

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Musings Ramblings and Other Stuff: Brandon Workman

Brandon Workman:

Why he's piquing the interest of fantasy owners:

He's given up three earned runs or less in each start since moving from the bullpen to the starting rotation. For being owned in only 4% of Yahoo leagues, his ERA & WHIP totals (2.86/0.99) are pretty enticing for people looking for an under the radar waiver wire bargain.

How I think he's going to do going forward:

While he has induced slightly more ground balls than last year (38% to 41%), I think his overall numbers will show modest improvement this year, I think the ERA ends up in the 3.75-4.00 range.

Like many unexpected players starting strong, he has been aided by some good luck (.215 BABIP and a 3.6% HR to FB ratio). He may keep this good stretch going for awhile but eventually hits are going to start falling and he's going to give up more home runs.

Whatever the results are, the fangraphs data indicates that he is at least making adjustments (which may help him do better than I expected). He has gone from using his fastball 61% of the time to 48% and increased the use of his cutter from 18% to 31% a pitch that seems to get him more effective results based on the available data.

Taking this under consideration is making me reconsider by initial prediction. I still think some regression is inevitable but he might be able to keep the ERA around the 3.50 range. If your playing fantasy, he may be useful if you have an extra bench spot available and would go on a start by start basis when determining whether or not to start him.

Also, if you are going to pick up/start Workman you may also need to keep an eye on whether he's playing at home or on the road as Fenway has been more favorable to offense this year (107 park factor) than usual.

Workman did get himself to the majors in decent time, as he was drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft. By career WAR, he is so far the fifth best player drafted in the second round of that year's draft with the best showing thus far coming from Andrelton Simmons.

The Red Sox themselves, while World Champions last year have not had the best of years so far as they are 31-36 and languishing in fourth place although the two ex-Brewers on the team (Burke Badenhop & Chris Capuano) are having solid seasons out of the bullpen.

All data numbers, etc. found on either or

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Musings, Ramblings and other stuff: Danny Santana

Danny Santana:

Why he's getting picked up by fantasy players:

He's in the middle of a 8-game hitting streak which has included a couple of homers and a 5-RBI game, also having a .372 average and eligibility in a few places (Second Base, Shortstop & Outfield doesn't hurt either.

Where he's been, what to expect going forward:

This is his first taste of major league action and the battle of the unknown is currently going in his favor. He's definitely more lucky than good. While he had higher BABIPs in the minor leagues, there is no way his .372 average/.476 BABIP holds up over the whole season and his minor league numbers indicate to not look to much into the home run department as he never had more than 8 in a season and in the minors, he never had a wRC+ above 113 although he could be good for double figures in stolen bases.

Basically, once pitchers get tape on him to figure him out and figure out that they don't necessarily have to throw him strikes 5.4% walk rate is roughly in line with what he did in the minors, he's likely to be another middle infielder in the crowd. If your thinking about picking him up in fantasy, he may give you a few stolen bases but don't expect too much power or batting average.

Other Things About The Twins that (at least) I find Interesting:

The Twins, while they haven't been great have been better than expected at 31-33 which has them 3 1/5 games behind in the AL Central. They have been somewhat lucky as their expected record (per baseball-reference is 30-34).

The Twins AAA team (Rochester) is doing better at 37-28. The hitter with the most plate appearances is Eric Farris who I sort of remember as he had a couple cups of coffee with the Brewers and spent a few years playing in Nashville and at 806 minor league games and 10 plate appearances appears to be a career minor-leaguer. I also noticed he isn't the only Brewers alumni playing in Rochester (Brad Nelson being the other). Nelson appears to be the consummate definition of the AAAA player as he has 200+ minor league home runs and as the majors are concerned a bust as a prospect (he was a top 50 prospect in 2003 & 2004).

One other thing about the Twins that I at least somewhat pay attention to is the fact that they have two former Cal Poly players on their roster (Kevin Correia & Casey Fien). It always trips my mind that there are some players that are in the big leagues that used to live in one of the same towns that I used to live in.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Waiver Wire Cage Match: Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Justin Turner

Daisuke Matsuzaka:

Matsuzaka has been getting picked up in a lot of fantasy leagues as the Mets are giving him a start tomorrow against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. On the bright side, he is getting at least one opportunity to succeed as he gets to face a weak Cubs line up.

However, it would be extremely shocking if he managed to maintain his strong performance (2.45 ERA) over the entire season. He simply is pitching a bit over his head. He isn't exactly keeping batters off the base paths (6.14 BB/9) and has been the beneficiary of good luck (.186 BABIP/3.6% HR to Fly Ball Ratio--compared to 8.5% for his career). If not when this number regressions, he's likely to see his numbers go up by a lot.

More likely than not, his numbers are going to regress to something very mediocre. In looking at the data on Fangraphs, one thing he appears to be doing this year is throwing less Fastballs (42% in 2014/52% career) and throwing more cutters (28% in 2014/16% career). In looking at the pitch values data, it appears that in his career and in 2014, Matsuzaka's cutter has been more effective than his fastball.

While the argument for Matsuzaka mysteriously reviving his career is extremely weak, it is slightly stronger than expected. If you want to pick him up for a spot start against the Cubs, that's one thing since the Cubs are sort of terrible but relying on him to improve by throwing even more cutters and assuming the league wouldn't adjust appears to be a dangerous assumption.

Justin Turner:

The how to guide on being a trendy fantasy baseball add despite a career wRC+ of 94. It appears to consist of an opportunity to fill in on for an injured player on a major market team (Dodgers), drive in runs in three consecutive games (and throw in a stolen base in the process) and be eligible at all four infield positions.

So the question is has this player who has primarily been a utility player finally turned the corner during his age 29 season. While he has a little bit more pop in his bat (.144 ISO 2014/.106 ISO career), he has been striking out more often this year (20.5% 2014--14.1% career) without a corresponding improvement in walk rate which is bound to catch up to him sooner rather than later. Another red flag is that his homer/fly ball ratio (10.7%) is significantly higher than his 4.7% career total. Basically, even the modest power numbers he's put up this year (three homers) is him playing over his head.


If you are picking up either of these players in fantasy, you most likely are not doing yourself any favors. Maybe (but don't count on) Matsuzaka sustaining some level of success by relying more on his cutter. With Turner, I just don't see any way that he sustains this year's performance (which isn't that strong to begin. with). Still, somebody has to win.


Daisuke Matsuzaka

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Waiver Wire Cage Match: Jonathan Singleton vs. Cody Allen

Jonathan Singleton

Just got himself signed on to a 5 year/10 million dollar extension which included being called up to the major leagues. Fantasy players have already struck gold with Astros prospects being called up (George Springer), can the Astros repeat this again and march towards being bad instead of terrible?

There has been an ever increasing amount of buzz surrounding Singleton as he has been a top 100 prospect over the last four years. He has produced very well in Oklahoma City with a .941 OPS and a 141 wRC+.

While I don't think he's going to offer much in the batting average category, he has shown signs of developing this year as he's cut down on his strikeout rate, is hitting for increasing power and continues to draw a lot of walks. He did struggle in his first year in AAA before breaking out this year.

I think he'll have a similar learning curve in 2014 but I think he'll break out in either 2015 or 2016. Even with some possible early struggles, a selective eye at the plate (he walked in 17.6% of his plate appearances in AAA) should at least give him a decent OBP even if he struggles in other aspects offensively.

Cody Allen:

Has been the recent beneficiary of the tumultuous closer situation in Cleveland as it appears to be his turn to see if he can close the door on Cleveland's opponents.

The positive with Allen is he at least is going to give you strikeouts (10.55 per 9 in his career). He is giving up an increased amount of walks (4.07 per 9) but one thing that feels on shaky ground is that his ERA (2.96) is a decent size better than has FIP & xFIP. The main concern with him is that his WHIP (1.32 career) is higher than what you'd want out of the closer position but he has pitched well enough in his career so far that he may have a decent year or two as a closer in him.


This one depends on whether your needs are immediate or if you are in a format that serves long-term potential better. Allen has pitched well enough in his career to indicate that he'll at least rack up some saves and strikeouts this year. Singleton on the other hand is getting his first crack at major league pitching. While I think he will be a good player one day, he may experience another learning curve similar to what he had in AAA where he struggles for a year or two before unleashing his potential. I'm going to lean on what to expect in 2014, and give the nod to Allen.

Winner: Cody Allen

All data referenced found either on or