BOSTON, MA - MAY 30: Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox stands on the mound during a rough sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox on May 30, 2011 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Today is June 2. On this day in 1891, Old Hoss Radbourn earned his 300th (or was it?) career victory. Hoss no doubt celebrated his feat by indulging in opium, loose women, and snarky comments directed at ESPN. Today is also the first anniversary of Armando Gallaraga's near-perfect game and the 7th anniversary of the beginning of Ken Jennings' streak of 74 straight Jeopardy! wins. Happy 22nd birthday, Freddy Adu. Bob Bradley already gave you a present this year, so don't ask for anything else. Here are your fantasy baseball links for today:
FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE - CLOSING TIME | RotoExperts
Closer depth chart and some updates
Reliever Roundup: Aaron Crow, Jon Rauch and ... David Hernandez? | Roto Hardball
A few new closers and an interesting set-up man in RotoHardball's closer report for fantasy baseball this week.
McClellan is a perfect example of the changing environment and how we as fantasy baseball players need to shift our thinking, at least for this year, as to what a "good" ERA is now. Two or three years ago, you would have jumped at the chance to pick up a 3.86 ERA on the wire, but now it’s a matchup play at best in most league formats. The stark change in ERA levels across both leagues no doubt leads to guys like McClellan being overvalued this year as we move away from a time when low-to-mid 4.00 ERAs were the norm for many regularly used pitchers.
[Raburn's] strikeout rate is atrocious (36.3%), his walk rate is horrible (4.7%), and his 70.6 contact% makes you want to throw up. But this is about grabbing a guy before he gets hot, and stashing him on your bench until he finds his groove. And believe me, once he gets the regular playing time and the consistent work at the plate, he will find it. 15+ HR in limited at bats the previous two years and a career .183 ISO show us the power is there, so once he makes the necessary adjustments, he’s going to do some damage.
Wide World of Waivers: National Power, Part II | Fantasy Baseball Cafe
Waiver advice by position.
[Nicasio's] fastball topped out at 97 mph against the Cardinals, with an average velocity of 94 mph. In addition to a lively fastball, he also featured a changeup and a slider, with both pitches sitting around 83-84 mph.
Frankly, I’m not sure why anyone would own McClellan, but he is currently on rosters in over 50% of Yahoo! leagues. Insane. The market appears to be reacting to McClellan’s win total, as he has six wins in eight decisions. Just don’t be one of those guys; find someone with higher upside and strikeout totals if you can.
Follow the jump for more of the latest fantasy baseball news and analysis from around the web.
The main point to get from this data is that the hitting aspect from this type of player generally peaks at age 28 vice 25 like the general population. Billy is currently 25 years old, so his hitting should not begin to decline for another 3 years. The Royals seemed to have him locked up over his prime hitting years.
Is [Joyce's] value probably as high as it is ever going to get? Quite possibly, which means if someone is willing to overpay selling him is more than reasonable. Still, I wouldn’t consider it a move that you have to make, either.
The owners who made the buy on Granderson got rewarded and should continue to be rewarded. While he might slow some I would look no further than his ZiPs rest of season projection of 38 home runs and a .268/.343/.552 triple slash line.
It seems as if baseball fans and fantasy owners expect every player to perform exactly as projected in every sample size you look at. ZiPS projected a 3.25 ERA this year for Lester, so fans expect him to post a 3.25 ERA every single month. We stats guys sometimes take flack for ignoring the human element of the game, yet it is the casual fans that ignore this aspect without even realizing it. Baseball is a game of streaks, peaks and valleys, since players are, of course, human beings. Since they are not robots, they will have months of bad luck, months of good luck, months of poor play, and months of strong play. Nobody performs in a straight line.
Batters see the fastball, they get used to it coming in and breaking a little bit toward them. Then Beckett unleashes the cutter at close to the same speed and and direction, but the ball breaks in and down instead of staying up and over the plate. Beckett got batters to chase 38% of the cutters out of the zone, and received called strikes on 28% of those pitches.
Take a look at his 3.47 xFIP, the best of his career, and you might get excited. You might think he's actually a very strong buy-low. But the 1.36 xWHIP helps mitigate the excitement - no matter what, he won't have the best WHIP. And then Gross' eFIP for Dempster (3.78) helps put this pitchers' particular mix of batted balls, strikeouts and walks in the context of Wrigley Field.
In fact, it appears that the groundball rate increase this year against left-handed batters is simply caused by good luck. Last year on the four-seamers, Chacin would give up non-ground-balls on pitches in the middle to inside part of the plate. This year, despite mostlyseeing his pitches in the same area, batters have not put these middle-of-the-plate to inside pitches into play at all. I would suspect this trend not to continue.
As the season wears on, batters will obviously have the opportunity to adjust to Fister's new approach so it will be interesting to see if Fister can keep it up. After a ridiculously hot start to 2010, he either wore down or was simply ineffective after the break (3.09 ERA, 1.07 WHIP pre-break / 5.09 ERA, 1.49 WHIP post break) but perhaps the added velocity and new approach will carry his success for the duration.
Madson has thrown 110 of these beauties [changeups] and batters are 2-for-15 off it for an in-play average of .133.
As noted above, Goldschmidt is bashing the ball again this year, hitting for average and power. He's doing it in a more difficult environment against better pitching, and he's shown dramatic improvement in his plate discipline and contact ability: he's drawn 41 walks already, compared to 57 all last year, and he's cut his strikeout rate by a huge amount, just 36 whiffs in 188 at-bats. He's reduced his strikeout rate from 31% of his at-bats to 19%, while improving his already-stellar production numbers across the board. He's especially deadly against left-handed pitching, hitting .404 with a 1.021 SLG this year; he hit .413 with an .860 SLG last year.
Daily Dish: Joe Kelly Flirts With No-No (Again) | Baseball America
Kelly, Yelich, Walker, Montero, Harper, Peacock
The Prospect Trinity | Baseball Guys
Lawrie, Ackley, Jennings
Five Triple-A Bats That Could Impact 2011 | Beyond the Box Score
When it comes to looking for those players that can provide upgrades and/or depth, calling up minor league talent is usually the way to go given the lesser cost. So here are five young players currently in Triple-A that could get the call at some point this season, particularly given how well they're playing right now.
Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Brett Lawrie, more | KFFL.com
Lawrie, Rizzo, Parker, Kirkman
Ideally, Ramirez would stay in the rotation, but Neftali Feliz should be starting. On pure stuff, he could sufficiently replace Feliz. The restraint is based in his walks and future role. Statistically, he could have value similar to the likes of Craig Kimbrel, Feliz and Marmol if given a bullpen spot, and Marmol and Kimbrel have had good success while being wild, but that doesn’t always mean Ramirez is a guarantee. I like his darkhorse fantasy option in a late summer call-up.
Through two big-league starts, Cobb hasn't looked like the pitcher that showed such good command in the minor leagues. In 10.2 innings, he has already allowed eight walks. Based on his track record, that trend should change once he settles in. When that happens, he'll no-doubt find more success against big-league offenses and his changeup gives him at least one out pitch.
FANTASY BASEBALL ADVICE - H2HEADQUARTERS | RotoExperts
Prospects about ready to get the call into the majors: Lawrie, Moustakas, Nicasio, Jennings, Rizzo, Teheran, Ackley
The bottom line is that if Brett Lawrie gets the call to the big leagues, his power/speed upside is worth taking a flier on in just about any format. While I don't see him hitting for much AVG right away, he should hit for some power and steal plenty of bases, especially with the way the Jays have been letting loose on the base-paths under manager John Farrell. His stolen base value might actually outweigh his power output this season. Lawrie should also carry 2B/3B eligibility before long in all formats, which helps add to his potential value.
With the 30th Pick in the MLB Restart Draft, Doug Glanville Selects… | Baseball By Paul
I appreciate a good rant.