HOUSTON - AUGUST 16: Pinch hitter Brian Bogusevic #19 of the Houston Astros receives congratulations from manager Brad Mills #2 and Sergio Escalona 352 hits a wallk-off grand slam home run in the ninth inning off pitcher Carlos Marmol #49 of the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Park on August 16, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Here are your fantasy baseball links for today, August 18:
When he comes back, there's just not much reason to think that Strasburg will be less than what he was before he got hurt. And since, for a lot of pitchers, the replacement ligament is stronger than the original one, Strasburg may be even less of an injury risk now than before. He could still hurt his shoulder, and he could still re-injure his elbow, but it's not like Strasburg's going to be a man of glass. What we could see is Strasburg maybe dialing things back a little. Or maybe he'll throw fewer breaking balls. He could pitch in a way so as to consciously reduce his injury risk. But that isn't a guarantee, and even if he does this, he should still be exceedingly amazing.
The x-factor here is Marmol’s contract. He inked a three-year pact worth $20M this past February, and that alone could keep him in the closer’s role for the time being. Another temporary demotion is possible, but I think Marmol is still a ways off from being permanently replaced. Keep Marshall (or even Kerry Wood) on reserve, but the end of the season is coming up and the winter has a way of giving closers a fresh start (see Jonathan Broxton this year). Marmol is far from reliable, but it seems like he’s still the guy for the time being.
[Rios] has been plagued by poor luck all year long, with a .225 BABIP. It’s hard to imagine that type of number continuing, especially when he’s been making contact at the best rate of his career (10.9%). His line drive rate is actually up from the past two seasons (18.0%) and you would anticipate the power rebounding as well (4.9% HR/FB).
Since his call-up, Martinez has hit .254 with 4 home runs 15 RBI in just 17 games (68 plate appearances), and while that average may seem a little low, it’s only going to get better as his .267 BABIP should steadily climb closer to .300 over the next month. His .270 ISO mark is obviously high, but his minor league totals dictate that the power is real and he should continue to produce.
His 11.12 K/9 rate is elite, and his homerun and strand rates are sustainable. Parnell has been hampered by his .381 BABIP, though, and his FIP suggests that his ERA should be below 3.00, not above 4.00. The Mets aren't going to make the playoffs, but they're not a terrible team either. Expect Parnell to grab seven-to-10 save chances from here on out, and to convert all but one or two of them. He's owned in just 8.9% of ESPN leagues, so if you're short on saves, there's a good chance he's available.
If you need a spot starter for someone like Cole Hamels, Jonathan Sanchez, or Tommy Hanson, Vazquez is palatable in small doses, but recommending him for the rest of the season feels like a game of Russian roulette. The strikeouts aren’t a mirage, but his overall line is definitely propped up by a .262 second half BABIP. Though it is worth mentioning that his BABIP for the year is right at his career average, I would expect him to be closer to that .296 mark going forward than .262.
Since returning from the DL on July 29th, he has allowed only one run in eight outings, striking out six batters in 7 1/3 innings pitched. If for some reason Mariano Rivera needs a day off from his ninth inning duties, expect Soriano to pick up the vulture save.
Torres isn't a big guy, but he generates plenty of velocity for a lefty with a low-90s fastball. The heater plays up because of its movement. He also has an above-average changeup, and his curveball, while inconsistent, is also a frequent plus pitch. All of his pitches have excellent movement, and he's maintained his superior strikeout rates at each level. His mechanics aren't textbook, but add deception to all the life in his pitches. The downside is spotty command: Torres doesn't always know where the ball is going and walks a lot of people, although his ground ball tendency and low home run rates have limited the damage, resulting in solid ERAs. The question is: will that be true in the majors? He received one inning of work in the major leagues back in July and walked three guys, not an auspicious beginning, granted it was just one game.
Brett looks to be the real deal, but as with Kipnis, the home run numbers don’t seem sustainable. The key numbers driving Lawrie’s home run numbers are a 50% FB rate and a 23% HR/FB ratio. These numbers work out to a home run every 10 times he puts a ball in play and are in the Jose Bautista range (47% FB, 24% HR/FB).
As the 2010 season progressed, [Peacock's] velocity climbed; when pitching out of the bullpen in the Arizona Fall League, he was hitting 96 MPH consistently. Possesses the arm strength and stuff and talent to become a mid-rotation starter. Fields position fairly well and has average athletic ability.Worst case scenario, power bullpen arm.
Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Lester Oliveros, Wade Miley, Danny Hultzen | KFFL.com
The Twins get a potential closer that's rough around the edges. Wade Miley gets the first crack to fill Arizona's rotation spot. Danny Hultzen looks like he'll be fast-tracked.
Daily Dish: Rockies’ Chad Bettis Tames Lancaster | Baseball America
Bettis, Perio, Kluber, Gilmartin, Matzek
The Lineup Card: 8 Memorable Breakdowns, Antics, and Tirades | Baseball Prospectus
You can't beat Wellman, but there are several worthy minor league meltdowns that missed the cut. Also there's this (NSFW - language)
Maddux or Halladay? | Baseball Guys
Absolutely agree with Ray here. Give me Maddux every time.
The Journalism Of Today, Yesterday, With Ted Williams As Jim Thome | Baseball Nation
Any slugger from the steroid era has to deal with an extra set of questions pertaining to their legacy, but what if that scrutiny had always been the case?