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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Trendy Waiver Wire Pick Ups:

Roberto Hernandez:

Currently owned in 11% of leagues. He's had a couple of solid starts since being acquired by the Dodgers. Both of those things are nice and okay but there's still not enough there to increase his value (still second to last among starting pitchers in my listings). He may stumble across some more wins playing on a contending team but he still strikes out less then 6 per 9 innings, walks too many batters and has a projected ERA of 4.33, this is one where your well advised to go the other way.

James Paxton:

Currently owned in 38% of leagues. He has pitched very strong in his first three starts this year and two of those have been against contending teams (Detroit & Baltimore). The one minor red flag is that he has gotten lucky on BABIP (.237) but even his FIP, xFIP numbers indicate strong future returns. While his strikeout numbers are modest so far (7.53 per 9), he still projects to have a very strong ERA 2.96.

Paxton's strong start has helped Seattle's push to get to their first playoff spot since 2001 and he's just as capable of doing the same for fantasy owners. Currently, I have him ranked 20th among starting pitchers (not bad for someone available in 62% of leagues.

Michael Pineda:

Currently owned in 48% of leagues. While his value is strongly tied to whether he can stay healthy and not get caught binging on pine tar for his glove (both of which are very big IFs), there is some high reward to go with high risk. While his 1.82 ERA is aided by a .254 BABIP & a 2.5% HR/FB rate, even factoring in a combo of actual ERA, FIP & xFIP, his ERA still projects to be very strong (2.87).

If this holds up, he is capable of helping the Yankees in the scramble for the last wild card spot and do the same for fantasy owners (current rank is 18th). He carries much more risk but could help you win.

Mike Fiers:

Currently owned in 48% of leagues and coming off a VERY strong performance, yeah it was against the Cubs but 14 K's over 6 innings is impressive. While his other start against the Dodgers didn't get the same headlines, he still stepped up just as huge in that start as well.

The question is, what to expect of Fiers going forward? His ability to strike out batters didn't exactly come out of nowhere (he struck out 9.52 per 9 in 2012) and his ability to dominate over at least a couple month stretch isn't new (he pitched very strongly for a couple months in 2012). Both his FIP & xFIP are below 3 this year and if he ever stretched this out over a full season (sub 3 ERA, 200+ K's plus a good chance of getting wins playing on a strong offensive team like Milwaukee) and he could be scary good.

Wei-Yin Chen:

Currently owned in 41% of leagues. He has given up one run or less in 3 of his last four starts. Historically, i've had him projeted as a middle of the pack pitcher.

While his recent performance has given him a modest bump in my rankings (54th to 47th), his ceiling his relatively limited. While he seems likely to stumble into wins playing for a first place Baltimore team, his ERA projects to be almost 4 (3.92) and he's not going to give you too much of an advantage on strikeouts (less than 7 per 9 innings).

All numbers referenced researched on

All references to league ownership found on Yahoo! Fantasy

Answering Comments: Evaluating Some Trade Value

Going through the comment section of this Yahoo! article that leads off discussing the awesomeness of the last start from Mike Fiers and to look for questions to answer within the comment section. One comment I see is as follows:

"hey guys, kind of unrelated but i was wondering if i should pick Mauer up for Perez and Avisal garcia for wong? I could also pick mauer up and drop wong because its my UTIL spot i need to fill. Thanks alot."    

Lets break this down into a couple sections:

Who has more value, Joe Mauer or Salvador Perez (assuming his injury issue is not serious? 

While Mauer has not had that great of a season, his numbers are somewhat deflated due to lower than usual BABIP & HR/FB rate. Even with those factored in, he's not the star he used to be as he comes in at #100 in my rankings. With Mauer, his average his projected to be at .288 with the possibility of low double digit home run totals.

#100 may not be that bad but I have Perez ranked higher coming in at #54. My projections give him a slight edge in average (.292), 20+ homer power if things break right (19) and an advantage of playing for a better team (Royals vs. Twins) which means more opportunities to score & drive in runs. Bottom line, if your going between these choices, your better off with Perez.

Who has more value Avisail Garcia or Kolten Wong?

Avisail Garcia has recently returned from injury and provided some decent returns hitting a couple of home runs and hitting .300. His ranking is at 248 but this is primarily due to an extremely limited amount of plate appearances (45) so far this year and should get better as he gets a large sample of performance data.

 While he has performed better than what I think based off of BABIP & HR/FB rate results, there is at least some value .270 projected average and 15-20 home run power. Currently I have Kolten Wong ranked 95th. While his average (.275) & home run projections (15) are similar to Garcia, his value is driven up by having 30+ steal potential and playing a position (second base) where productive players are more scarce, thus the person with Kolten Wong would get the upper hand of this trade and I would also advise against anyone dropping him to pick up Joe Mauer.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Around The Lineup: 8/14

Taking a look at some players getting picked up off the waiver wire but not on a lot of teams.


Russell Martin

Currently owned in 27% of leagues. He has been the beneficiary of a recent 11-game hitting streak that has raised his batting average from .278 to .288. This may be a nice boost for people owning him now but if you are one those people, you may want to sell high on Martin.

His BABIP is at .352 which is significantly higher than his career total .288. Factoring out this area, he projects to be more of a .235 hitter with the possibility of double-digit home run power. While he does have significantly higher real-life value as he's helping the Pirates stay in contention (3.4 WAR) which could be enough to push the Pirates over the top in the NL Central (boo), his value is primarily on the defensive end (not counted in fantasy) and incredible patience at the plate (13.4% Walk Rate this year) which would give him a .370 OBP (not bad) even with a .236 average. For fantasy purposes, he's currently ranked 202nd out of 325.

First Base:

Lonnie Chisenhall:

Currently owned in 48% of leagues. He's actually the sixth most added first base eligible player so far but the first one below 50% ownership due to him being frequently dropped due to recent struggles.

Which Chisenhall is the real one, the one that hit real well early in the season or the one that is encountering struggles as the Indians try to stay within the fringe of contention. In terms of fantasy ownership, Chisenhall is on the fringe of being an option being ranked 141st overall.

He is starting to come down from his BABIP high from earlier this year and holds more value at third than first. His average is currently projected at .259 and could be a source of 20 homers over a full season.

Second Base:

Dustin Ackley:

Currently owned in 40% of leagues and currently 177th in my player rankings. He does have hits in four of his last five games but needs to show more before I would be sold on him. He currently projects out to be a .257 hitter with the possibility of double figure home runs.

Third Base:

Yangervis Solarte:

Currently owned in 29% of leagues. With hits in five of his last six games, his perceived value is increasing (assuming his mild left oblique quad strain does not lead to missed playing time). His stock in my rankings has also improved as he's gone from 147th to 116th.

Even with his decent showing so far, there are indicators he could be better as his BABIP (.273) is relatively low along with his HR/FB rate. Even though he's hitting .261 this year, he's projected to be closer to a .287 hitter (.394 OBP when you add in 10.7% BB Rate) and capable of throwing in 15 home runs. Along with playing for a widely ignored Padres team and you have yourselves a solid sleeper waiver wire pick.


Jordy Mercer:

Currently owned in 19% of leagues. His perceived value has benefited from a recent five game hitting streak that has raised his average to .265 which is pretty close to his projection .259. He may have marginal value since he's a shortstop and could crack double-figure homer totals. He has seen a marginal bump in my rankings from his recent stretch going from 212th to 206th.


Michael A. Taylor

Currently owned in 2% of leagues but by far the most popular pick up today (the benefits of homering in your big league debut. While he skipped straight from AA to the majors, his chance of success appears to be high even after discounting his minor league numbers by about 20%.

His highest risk area is the batting average as he no longer has the benefit of AA pitching & a .421 BABIP to work with. With that being said, he has the potential to make up for this in the rest of the categories in a big way as he could be a potential 25 homer/50 steal threat down the road.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Researching Comments: Jeremy Hellickson what to expect & Catcher Options

Reading today's Closing Time, article on Yahoo! One of the reader comments is as follows:

"Hellickson is picking up the pace, is he a safe add for mixed leagues? "

Which raises the question of

How much stock can we take in Hellickson's recent performance?     

The short answer, not very much. Granted his surface stats indicate a possible mini-breakout season (2.03 ERA) but even during these good times there are some red flags to consider before putting him in your lineup.

His FIP/xFIP numbers paint a less rosy picture as these totals are 3.88 & 4.35 respectively. Combining these numbers (putting 1/2 emphasis on FIP, 1/3 on xFIP and the rest on his current ERA) indicates that his projected ERA going forward is 3.73 which is actually slightly higher than his career total of 3.63.

While he has improved his walk rate so far (2.91 career to 2.03 this season), he still is not someone you can rely on for strikeouts (6.75 per 9 this year).   

In looking at the pitch type available at FanGraphs, he hasn't really changed his repertoire much  and his fastball has actually lost about 0.4 mph.

While Hellickson's return is a major source of relief to a Rays team that has managed to get themselves within six games of the final wild card spot, there isn't much to indicate that he's any better or worse than he has been previously. Out of 108 pitchers I have ranked, he comes in at 74th in the rankings, indicating that he's not the best option available on the waiver wire.

Another question in the comment threads regards value comparision between specific catchers

"So does a stake in the A’s offense include adding Vogt as a starting C in a 12 team league? I have been flipping between Rosario (currently), Montero, Vogt, Flowers, etc. They are all available, as well as McCann. Who’s the preferred option ROS? "        

Which raises the question of?

How do these catchers compare to each other value-wise?        

My take on this is as follows:

Tyler Flowers is by far the worst option of the bunch. His already mediocre batting average is being held up by a high BABIP and I have him ranked 294th amongst batters.

Stephen Vogt is projected out to hit .280 and is capable of double figure home run power. His overall ranking is at 187 and is hurt by being in and out of the line-up (one of the factors taken into consideration is plate appearances this year).

Miguel Montero is having a nice bounce-back year and is projected to hit .275 with 20 homers over a full season, he is ranked 92nd right now, not a bad option but not as good as McCann and Rosario

Wilin Rosario is second on this list of five but not by much (literally by one spot). His numbers don't look that great on the surface but he's had lower than usual BABIP and HR/FB rate totals. I'm still high on his plus-power and think he could get his batting average which has always been his value downfall up to about .270

Brian McCann (assuming he can stay healthy) is the best option. While his surface stats seem like he's having an underwhelming start for the Yankees, he's being held back by a .249 BABIP and lower than usual HR/FB rate totals.

Bottom line, Flowers should be avoided at all costs. Vogt carries some value in daily leagues but not standard leagues and Montero, Rosario & McCann (to varying extents) are all solid options.

Researching Comments: Felix Hernandez 2014 versus his 2010 Cy Young Season

Trying something new today, i'm looking at the comments section of this article from Yahoo! to answer some of the reader comments to see how accurate they are and to have some writing material.

The first comment from this article up for analysis is:

"Appropos of nothing in this fine column, Felix Hernandez is having a way better year than even the year he won the Cy Young. It's just nuts.
His worst start of this season -earned run-wise - was a start in which he 1) got the win, 2) went 6 2/3, 3) walked nobody, and 4) struck out 7.
Jeez. The King indeed. "     

Which raises the question of:

Is Felix Hernandez 2014 season better than his 2010 Cy Young Winning Season ?          

To look at this, I went to his player page  to compare the two areas.

Section 1: Projected ERA:

For projected ERA, I look at ERA, FIP and xFIP and use the following formula (ERA+xFIP+xFIP+FIP+FIP+FIP) with the intent of not completely disregard the ERA on the surface but giving stronger consideration to fielding independent pitching

2010: ERA 2.27, FIP 3.04, xFIP 3.14 gives us a projected ERA of 2.94
2014: ERA 1.95, FIP 2.07, xFIP 2.38 gives us a projected ERA of 2.15

Winner: 2014

Section 2: Ground Balls

2010: 53.9%
2014: 56.1%

Winner: 2014

Section 3: K/BB Ratio

2010: 3.31
2014: 6.06

Winner: 2014

In this case, the reader comment was very correct in that Felix Hernandez has managed to exceed the high expectations surrounding him based off of seasons such as 2010 where he came away with the Cy Young Award. One interesting thing to note is that he has changed around his pitch repertoire this year in that he is throwing less fastballs this year (44% versus 57% for career) and he has began to rely on his change up more (30% this year versus 17% for his career).

If this is a sign of things to come over the next few years, this is very good news for Mariners fans and very bad news for opposing hitters but also very good news for baseball.

Accuracy of Commentary: Home Run

Information referenced in this article found on

Friday, August 8, 2014

Trendy Waiver Wire Pick Ups: 8/8/14

Dustin Ackley:

Currently owned in 26% of Yahoo! leagues but is seeing his fantasy value go up after homering for the second consecutive game.

Ackley came to the majors with high expectations and the question to ask is whether this is the time that he cashes in on them? While he has been an improved player and his recent surge has helped him move up my rankings (205th to 177th), the only thing that would make him worth consideration is the second base eligibility.

His BABIP is right in line with his career totals, so his .257 batting average is in line with what I think he'll do but i'm not sold on his power (able to break into double digits but not much beyond that) and only the occasional stolen base. He could be the key to the Mariners getting back to the playoffs for first time since 2001 but this is far from guarantee.

Javier Baez:

Currently owned in 57% of leagues. If your gonna get your first crack at major league pitching, it doesn't hurt to have that come against the Rockies at Coors Field. While people have been rushing to pick him up over the last few days, the only thing that appears to be able to slow this down is the diminishing amount of leagues that he is available in. The only question is how many home runs does he hit down the stretch and how many fantasy leagues does he help determine the outcome of ?

Brandon McCarthy:

Currently owned in 32% of leagues. The question that is raised with him is which performance from this year is closer to his ability. His struggles earlier this year in Arizona or the resurgence he has enjoyed since being traded to the Yankees?

The answer, as always is somewhere between those two extremes. His ERA does project out to 3.49 which isn't bad since he's been pitching in a couple hitter-friendly ballparks for his home games this year. Still, he's worth picking up to see how long his hot streak lasts and for any road starts where he actually gets to pitch in a pitcher friendly ballpark.

Currently, I have him ranked 48th (out of 107 starters). He's an option worth considering, but not necessarily a no-brainer.

Kolten Wong:

Currently owned in 37% of leagues. Even with recent strong play and the accompanying uptick in ownership, I still think he is under-rated and probably contribute a lot towards either preventing or making it very difficult for the Brewers to make the playoffs (boo).

Putting personal feelings aside, his value is very strong for someone that is available in 63% of leagues. I have him ranked as a top-100 player (85), and project him out to be a .280 hitter. Alongside that, I think he'd hit about 18 homers over a full season (not bad for second base) and might even provide 40 steals. He's definitely a substantial upgrade for any fantasy roster.

Chris Carter:

Currently owned in 57% of leagues. Chris Carter's performance is the equivalent of high stakes gambling in that he is just as likely to have a multi-homer game as he is to sabotage your batting average and strike out four times in a game.

Last night, he struck gold and hit a couple of home runs. This home run outburst from last night has helped his stock as he has moved from 100th to 71st in the batter rankings. Considering the Astros get their next series at home against a couple of sub-standard pitching staffs (Rangers, Twins), he is definitely worth picking up in both standard & daily formats.

All numbers/information referenced found on either or Yahoo! Fantasy

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Trendy Waiver Wire Pickups: 8/7

Vance Worley

Currently owned in 20% of leagues. His last game was Saturday's game against Arizona where he gave up 1 run in 6 innings. Even though the Pirates are competing with the Brewers for a playoff spot, I really hope Arizona loses the rest of their games based on how they conduct themselves and the fact that they seek retribution for things that were non-intentional.

In the short-term, he could be a good daily play since his next start is against the Padres. In the long-term, i'm not sold despite his 2.43 ERA this year, quite frankly he doesn't strike out enough batters (5.17 per 9 innings) and there's not much in his career or deeper numbers from this season to motivate me to pick him up.

Mike Leake:

Currently owned in 45% of leagues. His value has gone up based off his last start against the Marlins where he gave up 1 run in 6 innings. While this helped his perceived value, it didn't help him move up the rankings I have. Similar to Worley where he may be a good play in daily leagues when he makes his next start against the Marlins but i'm not sure whether he's worth adding to standard leagues. With that being said, if forced to pick between the two, Mike Leake would be the safer addition.

Chris Coghlan:

One of those players that has gotten playing time by playing for a non-contending team and combined with some good luck has managed to take advantage of this situation. The Cubs may have embarrassed themselves against the Rockies yesterday, but Coghlan can't be blamed for that as he got three hits.

In the long term, i'm not convinced this is sustainable. He has been aided by a high BABIP and I think he's closer to a .270 hitter than a .300 hitter. Also, he doesn't project out to hit for much power in the long-term. A useful addition to a major league roster, I just don't see much value on the Fantasy side.

Josh Reddick:

Currently owned in 38% of leagues. He's another play that has been one of the trendy pick ups on a regular basis as he went 1 for 4 and drove in 2 runs in a loss to Tampa Bay and a rare bad start from Sonny Gray.

While the context of his recent hot streak his helped his perceived value, he actually dropped one spot in my rankings from 176th to 177th. He could be a low-level source of power but I think he's closer to a .240 hitter than his current .260 average.

Chase Anderson:

Currently owned in 11% of leagues. He has had two consecutive starts where he only gave up one run each (against the Reds & Pirates, thank you). In a season where the Diamondbacks have disappointed both ethically and on the field, he has been one of their few bright spots.

Depending on what angle the analysis point is, he's either decently under-valued or playing over his head. While his ERA (3.19) is much stronger than where I have him projected (4.03), he is still a decent source of strikeouts and for how bad his team has been, he has managed to stumble his way into some wins.

While he his pitching a bit over his head and I expect some fall off, I still think he's at least worth a look. I have him ranked 52nd out of 107 starting pitchers which all in all isn't bad for someone available in 89% of Yahoo! leagues.

Chris Tillman:

Currently owned in 46% of leagues. His value has gone up due to an extended stretch where he's given up 3 earned runs or less in each start since June 10. Between reviewing him on Wei-Yin Chen, it makes me less convinced that Baltimore has a strong chance of holding on in the AL East.

While he has a healthy looking win-loss record (8-5) his ERA projects out to 4.27. Bottom line, even on the waiver wire you can do better, and my estimate is that he runs into some struggles sooner rather than later.

All numbers, information referenced found on Yahoo! Fantasy and

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trendy Waiver Wire Pickups: 8/6/14

Some players getting picked up today and whether they are worth it:

Colin McHugh:

Currently owned in 25% of leagues. He's coming off a strong start against Toronto where he gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings and his next start comes against the Philadelphia.

Earlier in the season, I was skeptical that McHugh could maintain his strong early season performance citing some initial struggles in limited action over the last couple seasons.

As the season has gone by, it appears that I was very wrong on this assessment. While he has had some good luck (.256 BABIP), his FIP, xFIP numbers indicate that he is a solid starter. Even though playing on the Astros negatively impacts what he can do on the win column, he makes up for it by being able to rack up strikeouts (10.14 per 9 innings this year).

While outside the scope of fantasy, it appears that he's mixed things up a bit this year. He has added 1.1 miles per hour on his fastball but appears to be throwing this less this year and throwing his slider more often.

Either way, it appears that McHugh's deflated win-loss record has turned him into a secret sneaky good value as I have him ranked 25th out of all starting pitchers. It may have taken me forever to come around, but I was definitely wrong about McHugh earlier this season.

Josh Reddick:

Currently owned in 38% of leagues. Overall, this hasn't been a great season for Reddick but he has a five game hitting streak.

While he still has 20 homer per season power, i'm not sure how much value he has for standard leagues (for hitters I have him ranked 176th) but he currently is more valuable in daily leagues as long as he keeps his hit streak up.

Javier Baez:

Currently owned in 49% of leagues. His debut seems to be a pretty close microcosm of what to expect this year (he hit the go ahead home run in the 12th inning last night) but also did not get any hits foretelling a poor batting average for 2014. At the very least, he's worth running in daily leagues as the Cubs are playing at Coors Field

Roberto Hernandez:

Currently owned in 4% of leagues (although his 8 shut out innings against the Nationals last time up have convinced at least 3,000 Yahoo users to pick hi up today). Quite frankly, that's probably 4% too many. While he is getting regular starts (due to playing on a poor team) and has a 3.87 ERA that looks okay-ish on the surface, his FIP, xFIP numbers are both north of 4.5 and he is in 105th in my rankings. For context, I have 106 starting pitchers listed at the moment.

Wei-Yin Chen is number five on the Transaction Trends list. Since he starts today, there has been no change to my outlook on him versus yesterday.

Roenis Elias:

Currently owned in 16% of leagues based off a decent three start stretch (where he only gave up one earned run each and struck out at least six batters). His last start against Baltimore gave him a minor boost in the rankings (going from 52nd to 49th). For standard leagues, he is a possible back-end option depending on pitching availability on match ups but he's not quite in the drop everything and pick him up category.

Denard Span:

Span got a base hit last night which was enough to move his ownership rate up to 55%. While his spot actually dropped from 106th to 107th, he's still worth taking a closer look at.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Trendy Waiver Wire Pick Ups: 8/5/14

Some thoughts on today's trendy waiver-wire pick ups:

Javier Baez:

The long-anticipated major league debut for Javier Baez is here. He is 21, full of promise and seems destined to be a star in the long-term. The question remains whether he is destined to be a useful player in the short term.

For season-long players, it depends on how much of a hit your willing to take on batting average. I think at least initially, it's going to be around the .220 range so far (he hit .260 in Triple-A and i'm adjusting 15% decrease based on increase in competition. With that being said, I think he has the ability to immediately contribute on the home run/stolen base side of things. Either way, this appears to be another step the Cubs are taking between the terrible team they are today and the potential contending team they may be in a couple of years.

For daily players, I have two words for you: Coors Field. Despite the drawback in batting average, I have him ranked 59th (out of 322 batters).

Either way, he's worth the pick up regardless of format.

Tyler Flowers:

His value has increased in context (11% ownership) due to a big game against the Rangers. In the long-term, I think this is an over-reaction to one good game. While I think he could hit 20 homers in a season if given the chance to play long-term, even the below average numbers he has this year (90 wRC+) may be above his actual ability as he has benefited from a .380 BABIP. It appears this could be his peak and frankly his peak is not that high. Once the BABIP wears off, he goes from a .252 hitter to flirting with the Mendoza Line.

Wei-Yin Chen:

His last couple starts have come against the Mariners and he has taken advantage by giving up 1 run over 15 1/3 inning. Even with this recent performance, I have him ranked 49th in the Starting Pitcher category. That and his value appears tied primarily to a shiny 12-3 record as he's had the good fortune of being on a first place Baltimore team. Still, i'm not quite sold on him as his next start will be against a stronger (though short-handed Toronto) team and most of the other numbers available indicate that he's a very average pitcher.

Danny Santana:

He just (somehow) keeps hitting, his latest value boost can be seen in his 5-hit outburst against the White Sox on Sunday. While still (not even close) to being sold on him, the rankings i'm doing he's at least moved up to 157 putting him squarely in the middle of the pack.

He could be decent source of home runs and stolen bases, but still projects out to being a .243 hitter if/when his BABIP fueled hot streak runs its course (similar to what's happening with Brock Holt).

Denard Span:

Span keeps on hitting on a steady base (3 straight multi-hit games/4 in the last 5) and in the midst of an 8-game hitting streak. As he keeps on hitting, he still continues to be one of the more picked up players as he's up to 52%. As long as home runs are not what your specifically targeted, he continues to be a solid option

Friday, August 1, 2014

Starting Pitcher Rankings:

Since I have been focusing all of my attention on offense and it seems like i'm rotating around discussing pretty much the same players, I decided to flip things around and rank the starting pitchers. For this listing, i'm ranking anyone who's pitched at least 100 innings so far this year. My top 10 is as follows:

1-Clayton Kershaw

* Masahiro Tanaka would be ranked second if he wasn't on the disabled list

2-Stephen Strasburg
3-Yu Darvish
4-Chris Sale
5-David Price
6-Max Scherzer
7-Zack Greinke
8-Corey Kluber
9-Ervin Santana
10-Madison Bumgarner

Currently there are 103 pitchers on this list, the bottom ten of these are as follows;

10-Edinson Volquez
9-Kyle Kendrick
8-Jeremy Guthrie
7-Hector Noesi
6-Chris Young
5-Scott Feldman
4-Kyle Gibson
3-Kevin Correia
2-Roberto Hernandez
1-Jared Cosart

Now onto some trendy waiver-wire pitching pick ups:

Vance Worley

Rank: 69
Ownership Rate: 14%

With the addition of Worley to this list, there are now 104 starting pitchers in the rankings with Worley being number 69. Even coming off an excellent start in San Francisco and getting to face a gutted Diamondbacks team over the weekend, i'm still not really sold on Worley.

While his ERA is at 2.54, the projection i've come up with places him at 3.51. Not terrible but nowhere near as good as the surface numbers. One red flag out there is that he hasn't struck out many batters (5.44 per 9 innings) and he can't rely on a .266 BABIP forever. His projected rankings are 38th for ERA, 26th for Wins, 87th for strikeouts and 24th for walks.

Basically, the main thing driving down the ranking is the strikeouts (lack of).With the Pirates being in the thick of the pennant race, he should stumble into some wins and  shouldn't hurt too bad on the WHIP. Still, with a less than inspiring track record, i'm not ready to buy on him.

Justin Masterson

Rank: 85
Ownership Rate: 44%

His value has been up as a speculation play as he got recently traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. While he has been better than his 5+ ERA has indicated, he hasn't been that much better (4.31 estimate). Still with the change in leagues, it's possible that this could be the change that is needed for him to improve performance. The only plus aspect I see with him is that his strikeouts still project to be strong (ranked 28th) but this is over-ridden by the fact that he ranks dead last in walks.