40. Tommy Hunter (BAL)–5/21 vs. BOS (Buchholz), 5/27 vs. KC (Paulino)
*All matchups as of May 18, 2012 and are subject to change due to injuries, postponements and managerial decisions.
Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him atÂ email@example.com.Â Also follow him on TwitterÂ @MatthewRBeckÂ for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.Â
You know when you wake up in the morning and you have a feeling that it just isn’t going to be your day? You walk to the shower and stub your toe against the door on your way cause you’re half asleep. Then as you get into the shower you slip and jam your wrist catching yourself on the wall. When you’re in the shower you realize you ran out of soap the last time you were in there. You go downstairs to save your morning and you realize that you’re also out of coffee. The last 24 have continued that trend of things just not going well for anyone in the fantasy game. Before you hit the bottle, an in this case I would totally understand why you would, here are some of the low lights of which I speak.
Jose Bautista’s Blue Jays had 11 hits and 11 runs Wednesday night against the Rangers. Bautista did score one of the runs, and he also plated one, but he also didn’t have a hit to drop his average down to .180. Moreover, through 25 games the guy has all of 16 hits and not a single time, not once, has he had multiple hits in one game since Opening Day when he had three hits against the Indians. Who has been telling you that Bautista isn’t a .300 hitter? Oh you know who.
Heath Bell blew up, yet again, Wednesday. Through 7.2 innings Bell has allowed 10 earned runs (11.74 ERA), 13 hits and eight walks (2.74 WHIP) and picked up three blown saves and three loses. He’s just killing the Marlins. His velocity hasn’t been an issue, it’s just that he has no idea where the ball is going right now. I mean think about it. For his career Bell has a 3.11 per nine walk rate and that number is currently, literally, three times higher at 9.39. How does that even happen? Steve Cishek would appear to be in the lead to step up for 9th inning duties if the Marlins do the prudent thing and make a shift (Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica are also in the mix), but long-term this should still be viewed as Bell’s job. I think.
A.J. Burnett had allowed two runs over 13 innings in his first two starts, so after being patient with him you felt comfortable starting him Wednesday night (I know that is the way that I viewed him. More on that in a moment). The result? One of the worst pitching lines in the history of fantasy baseball. Oh, an I only wish I was kidding. Burnett got seven outs, that’s 2.1 innings folks, while allowed 12 â€“ twelve â€“ runs. According to You Can’t Predict Baseball, Burnett was the first starting pitcher since 1918 to allowed 12 earned runs while recording fewer than eight outs. In Tout Wars Burnett’s outing, and remember we’ve played an entire month of the season where I’ve been starting nine pitchers on a daily basis, dropped me from 2nd in ERA to sixth as my team ERA went from 3.24 to 3.73. That’s amazing isn’t it? One outing from a hurler caused my team ERA to go up half a run. It just doesn’t get much worse that.
Jhoulys Chacin was sent down to the minors. My 77th ranked pitcher in my final preseason rankings, many outlets had him listed much higher than that. Turns out we all might have been better served having him much lower. Chacin’s velocity is down about two mph this year, and his performance has been hideous as he has a 7.30 ERA, 1.86 WHIP an a 5.47 BB/9 mark through five starts. However, this â€śslumpâ€ť goes back way further than a handful of starts. Since July 15th of last year, a span of 18 starts covering 102 innings, Chacin has a 5.03 ERA, a 1.62 WHIP, just 6.3 K’s per nine and a horrible 1.37 K/BB ratio. There’s something seriously wrong here with a guy who looked like a world beater in the first half last year with a 3.16 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 101 Ks over his first 116.2 innings.
Roy Halladay allowed eight runs and 12 hits against the Braves while lasting just 5.1 innings. As a result his sub 2.00 ERA entering the game ballooned to 3.40. Halladay will of course be fine, but it was announced after the game that he will be away from the team for a short while to deal with a personal matter. He should make his next start.
Tommy Hanson was nowhere near as bad as Mr. Burnett Wednesday night but he had his own struggles. Hanson allowed 10 base runners and four runs while getting just 11 outs (3.2 innings). His ERA went up three quarters of a run to 3.74 and all those base runners pushed his WHIIP up to an unsightly 1.43.
Ivan Nova suffered his first loss in 16 starts Wednesday night. He also continued his recent trend of poor work on the bump as he allowed five runs and 13 base runners in 6.1 innings to the Orioles. Did you listen to me and sell high on him when he was 3-0 with a 3.79 ERA and 20 Ks in 19 innings after three starts? Of course you didn’t. Over his last two starts he’s allowed 20 hits, handed out seven walks, and allowed 11 runs in 11.2 innings. His current ratios now sit at 5.58 and 1.76 (ERA and WHIP). That window to sell high is now long gone. Hope you listened.
Pablo Sandoval has a broken hamate bone that will require surgery. Early estimates put him out of action for something along the lines of 4-6 weeks. Does it feel like groundhog day to you? In one of the rarest of coincidences, today is the one year anniversary of Sandoval having surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his right hand. The current injury is to his left hand which might allow him to return a bit quicker since he won’t be throwing with that hand, but last year he missed six weeks and 41 games. The Giants offense is in dire straights, as are all of you out there who have been riding the Panda wave at this this season. If you’re looking for some options to turn to at the hot corner see my Mailbag piece. For those of you in NL-only leagues the Giants have called up Conor Gillaspie who will get first crack at the role. Conor was hitting .362 in Triple-A this season after hitting .297 with 11 homers, 61 RBI, 63 runs scored and nine steals in 124 games at Triple-A last season. He should be able to be productive but he’s not worthy of a look in mixed leagues.
YOU AREN’T THE ONLY ONE
So you know you aren’t the only one who gets hosed by injury, here is what my Tout Wars team has dealt with this season.
B.J. Upton was placed on the DL and missed weeks after hit collision with Desmond Jennings. At the time of the draft he was supposed to be fine.
And finally, Carl Crawford, who was supposed to be back playing by now, is hopeful of returning from his wrist and elbow woes by the All-Star break.
Gotta love it don’t you?
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
43. Jeremy Guthrie (COL)–4/16 vs. SD (Luebke), 4/21 @ MIL (Gallardo)
44. Kyle Weiland (HOU)–4/16 @ WAS (Strasburg), 4/20 vs. LAD (Kershaw)
*All matchups as of April 14, 2012 and are subject to change due to injuries, postponements and managerial decisions.
Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him atÂ firstname.lastname@example.org.Â Also follow him on TwitterÂ @MatthewRBeckÂ for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.
In my second installment of my preseason top 100, I will breakdown my 11-25 rankings and there may be names on this list that you feel might be either too high or too low. If you disagree with me, let me know about it. I love discussing baseball with my readers and we may be able to help each other out! So sit back and enjoy as I break down my next set of players on my preseason top 100.
In case you missed the top 10, you can find itÂ here.
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B (BOS)–Gonzalez posted great fantasy numbers in 2011 setting career-highs in runs (108) and batting average (.338), but surprisingly only hit 10 home runs at Fenway Park. It appears that there is even more growth potential as he learns how to hit at home compared to on the road, but even if he doesnâ€™t increase his home/road splits he is put him down for at least 25 home runs and 100 RBIs with a batting average right around his career average.
Hanley Ramirez, SS (MIA)–Ramirez was a clear-cut top five pick in 2011, but had a terrible start to the season that was topped off by a back injury that forced him to miss a good portion of the season. He will now be forced to play third base in 2012 with the addition of Jose Reyes to the Marlins squad, which actually helps his fantasy value without stepping onto the field. Expect a bounce-back year for Ramirez at a decent value just outside of the top 10.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF (COL)–After a breakout 2010 season, Gonzalez did his best to match his performance only to fall short in every category. He still posted a .295 BA/26 HR/92 RBI/20 SB stat-line, which keeps him in the top 20, but if he couldâ€™ve only hit outside of Coors Field he may be inÂ Matt KempÂ discussions. He is only 26 and he has plenty of room left to grow, so use last season as a benchmark rather than his breakout 2010 season.
Prince Fielder, 1B (DET)–Now a member of the Detroit Tigers, Fielder will be hitting behindÂ Miguel CabreraÂ making one of the best combos in all of baseball. Fielder was able to bounce-back from a rather unusual 2010 season to finish with a .299 BA/38 HR/120 RBI stat-line that was good enough to earn him a huge payday. Now playing in the American League, he has the chance to get back to his â€™07 or â€™09 days making him a clear cut top 15 pick this season.
RoyÂ Halladay, SP (PHI)–Halladay is the first pitcher off the board and there really isnâ€™t any reason why he shouldnâ€™t be. In 2011, Halladay set career-highs ERA and WHIP while crossing the 200-strikeout mark for the fourth season in a row. Expect another CY Yong bid in 2012.
Jose Reyes, SS (MIA)–Reyes has found a new home in South Beach in 2012 and returns to the top 20 after a few injury-plagues seasons. He supported a .337 batting average in 2011 that set a career-high while stealing 39 bases, which was his highest total since 2008. Hitting in a more hitter-friendly ballpark should help out the fantasy categories and help him become a fan favorite in Miami.
JacobyÂ Ellsbury, OF (BOS)–To say Ellsburyâ€™s 2011 season was remarkable is an understatement. He finished the season with a .321 BA/32 HR/105 RBI/39 SB stat-line on his way to setting many career-highs. The reason he is outside of my top 10 is that I want to see his power for two seasons in a row and I donâ€™t think you can blame me. Prior to the 2011 season Ellsbury hit just 17 home runs in the three previous seasons. Keep that in mind before you go crazy on draft day, but if he gets over 20, he will be in my top 10 next season.
JustinÂ Verlander, SP (DET)–If you read myÂ overvalued article, you would know that Verlander was on the top of my list heading into the 2012 season. He is coming off of a Cy Young and MVP season, he is going to be overvalued by many fantasy experts and fantasy players, but I am not going to put him in the top 10 or ahead of Roy Halladay. While I still expect him to have a good season, his 2008-2010 numbers are a more realistic expectation for this season.
AdrianÂ Beltre, 3B (TEX)–I am a little higher on Beltre than other out there, but if you breakdown his last two seasons he is worthy of a top 20 pick. Although he missed the month of August in 2011, Beltre still finished with a .296 BA/32 HR/105 RBI stat-line including hitting .367 in the second half. Despite his age (33), he can still produce at this level since he has now done it two years in a row and it also helps hitting in the middle of arguably the most potent offense in all of baseball.
DustinÂ Pedroia, 2B (BOS)–Pedroia got right back to his normal ways in 2011 after an injury-plagued 2010 campaign. He set a career-high in home runs (21), RBIs (91) and stolen bases (26) showing why he is one of the best second basemen in all of baseball. I donâ€™t think the home run surge was a fluke, but last season was definitely his ceiling. With that said, he should still get at least 15 home runs and help out in every counting stat in fantasy this season.
AndrewÂ McCutchen, OF (PIT)–In his second full season with the Pirates McCutchen improved his power stats, but did see a decrease in his speed and batting average. At the age of 25, the sky is the limit for this rising star as he has the potential to become a 30-30 type of player. Until then there may be some areas that need to come together, but it is hard to come across the power/speed combination that McCutchen possesses.
GiancarloÂ Stanton, OF (MIA)–in his first full season with the Marlins in 2011 Stanton finished with 34 home runs to go along with 87 RBIs. He is arguably the best young pure power hitter in baseball with the potential of becoming a 50 home run-type of player in the upcoming years. That is worthy of a top 25 position for me despite the lack of experience.
IanÂ Kinsler, 2B (TEX)–Kinsler, who is known for his injuries throughout the season, was able to stay healthy for the entire season in 2011 and was able to be a fantasy stud. He finished the season with 121 runs, 32 home runs, 77 RBI and 30 stolen bases which ranked him near the top of the leader board for second basemen. If he can stay healthy again in 2012 there is no reason why he canâ€™t repeat. But that is a big â€śifâ€ť.
David Wright, 3B (NYM)–Injuries limited Wright is 2011 to just 14 home runs and 61 RBIs and a career-low .254 batting average. He came into Spring Training healthy and with the change of dimensions in Citi Field a rebound is likely although â€™07 and â€™08 are probably a thing of the past.
Cliff Lee, SP (PHI)–Lee had a spectacular season in 2011 in which he finished the season with 238 strikeouts in 233 innings to go along with setting a career-high in earned run average(2.40 ERA). Although he will be 33 on opening day he hasnâ€™t appeared to lose a step. An ERA around three and 200-plus strikeouts are a good baseline for Lee this season.
Be sure to check back in the upcoming days as I add to my overall top 100 player rankings for the 2012 season!
Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him atÂ email@example.com.Â Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.Â
We all know that closers have a ton of value on draft day. After all, they are the only way that we can fill the saves category. But what about those relievers that don’t work the 9th inning â€“ what is their value?
There is a problem with relievers. The issue is how we evaluate players. Here’s a simple example to show what I mean.
In 2011 Kevin Gregg earned more fantasy value than Darren Oliver despite the fact that he was roundly out pitched by Oliver. Compare their efforts.
How in the world was Gregg more valuable in 2011? You already know the answer; it’s because he racked up 22 saves to to two for Oliver.
So what can be done? Some leagues have attempted to level the playing field by adding holds. That’s a solid idea. It adds extra value to middle relievers and gets those bullpen arms on a more level playing field. However, when you add a sixth pitching category you then have to add a sixth hitting category to balance out the pitching and hitting. So why not do this â€“ count SOLDS. Simply, Solds is saves+holds. Adding Solds will leave you with five categories and not six for pitching so you don’t have to worry about adding anything on the offensive side of the ledger. It would also result in middle relievers value skyrocketing. No longer would we be so concerned about what role a reliever holds as we are about the skills he brings to the part. I know that I’m not a fan of rostering a guy like Gregg who I know will kill my ratios, but if I need the saves, what choice do I have? If you count Solds instead of saves, then you have the option to pass on a junker like Gregg.
I don’t assume that I will be able to change anyone’s mind with this column, and it’s likely too late to implement such a change in the fabric of the fantasy game for the 2012 season, so instead I’ll focus on pointing out just how valuable selecting the right middle relievers can be to building an elite pitching staff.
Let’s take a look at some ADP numbers from MockDraftCentral.
Heath Bell has an ADP of 128 at the moment, insides the top-10 for relievers. He’s certainly a solid relief arm, one that is likely to rack up the saves in Florida, but is he going to help your team in ratio categories more so than a Brandon League (187 ADP) or Rafael Betancourt (203)? That’s debatable. Let’s take a look at each man’s ERA, WHIP and K/9 marks from 2011.
Obviously what people are doing is buying the saves that Bell will bring, and they are banking, because of his past performance, that he is more likely to be a 35+ save guy in 2012 than either of the other two arms. Clearly League and Bentancourt might be the equal of Bell in terms of skill â€“ trust me, if you dig deeper than ERA/WHIP/K/9 that statement will play itself out â€“ but people are buying the saves. However, is that the best way to build value in a pitching staff?
Let me spend a moment to explain something that many people seem to overlook.
On draft day 2011 you spent $32 of your $260 budget to roster Roy Halladay. If there is any starting pitcher that you can feel pretty darn secure about posting a top-10 season, it’s Halladay, so there was no reason to worry about adding him to your roster last year. However, this is only half the point. The other side of the coin is this â€“ even if Halladay excels as he did last year, how much profit is he going to earn for you? If he has a great season, one that produces $38 in value, he has only turned a profit of +$6. Now, what if you drafted Yovani Gallardo for $13? Let’s say he had a strong season, which he did, and turns in numbers that lead to $22 in value. Gallardo is a +$9 in this scenario which means two things: (A) Gallardo produced more profit than Halladay and (B) you spent less money on Gallardo at the draft table which left you more money to spend to strengthen other positions.
Transition that same line of thought to the bullpen. Are you so sure that spending $13 on Brian Wilson is a better investment than spending $6 on Rafael Betancourt? Of course will be your response since Wilson is more of a â€ślockâ€ť to register a huge save total. I wouldn’t argue with you there, but don’t forget, you’d have an extra $7 to spend. What if in addition to Bentancourt you also added Sergio Santos for $7. You’ve spent the same total of $13 dollars for each team, but doesn’t team #2, with two options, have at least a break even chance of producing as many saves as will Wilson? Better yet, those two arms will help your pitching staff in a more appreciable way. Let’s assume the following.
Let’s posit a team with 1,250 innings pitched before adding our relievers. Let’s say that team had a 3.50 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 1,000 strikeouts. What effect would adding Wilson or Bentancourt have had to this hypothetical club in 2011?
Team Wilson: 3.48 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.27 K/9 in 1,305 IP
Team Betancourt: 3.47 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.36 K/9 in 1,312.1 IP
Remember, Team Betancourt, who had the extra $7 to spend, could have also added an arm like Santos to the party and further increased the advantage for their team over Team Wilson. In fact, Santos + Bentancourt would have netted you 38 saves last season, two more than Brian Wilson’s total for the Giants.
Let’s take one more example to illustrate just how valuable middle reliever arms can be to your clubs. In this example we’ll construct two teams like we just did. However, this time we’ll pit middle relievers against a superstar on the hill.
If we looks back to draft day 2011 you could have the three relievers for $5 (or less), in a mixed league. We set the cost of Halladay at $32 dollars above, so clearly you would have had a financial windfall that would have enabled you to have a whole lot of extra money laying around to bolster the rest of your club if you added the three relievers over Halladay. You already know which team produced a better return on investment, it was the bullpen arms of course, but are you aware just how well the trio of arms stacks up to the mighty Halladay in terms of raw production?
Team Halladay: 19-6, 2.35 ERA, 220 Ks, 1.04 WHIP in 233.2 IP
Team Reliever: 10-9, 2.48 ERA, 237 Ks, 0.91 WHIP with 13 saves in 203 IP.
A huge advantage for Halladay in the win column, but the relievers have 13 saves to help make up that difference. Plus, the relievers actually bettered the might Halladay in Ks and WHIP, more than enough to offset the slight â€ślossâ€ť in the ERA column.
Obviously I’m cherry picking here by choosing three of the better relievers in baseball last year. But the point is still valid â€“ if you know how to evaluate pitchers, and be smart about controlling your budget on draft day, you can roster a pitching staff that can compete with the bigger spenders in the league. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a couple of horses on your staff, but you can have a lot of success with a staff filled with a bunch of #3 arms if you augment them with a judicious smattering of quality middle relief arms.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87. Ray’s baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.