Fantasy Baseball Thoughts: Yu Darvish, Matt Wieters and Others

Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

I am going to get back on track with my daily posting of Fantasy Baseball Thoughts, retiring the Roto Roundup pieces till next season. With these pieces, I will post my thoughts on several players per day, along with some current baseball news items of the day. I might toss in some boxscore thoughts till the end of the season, but will try to focus on season long stats, rather than box scores. I will also look at some offseason trade rumors and some players who could see more playing time in 2013.

I posted the following tweet on Friday morning just before leaving for work:

Update: that tweet should have read 9 ER. #typoalert

When I got home from work, I read two articles written by Jeff Sullivan from FanGraphs/ Lookout Landing and Keith Law from ESPN, on Darvish. Both were glowing reports of how he has improved and is close to reaching the ace potential many saw from him at the beginning of the season. Darvish is 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 3.55 xFIP, 1.27 WHIP and a 214-88 strikeout to walk ratio in his rookie season in MLB. He is far from being a rookie, and I think he has turned the corner with his control issues, as he has walked just 9 batters in his last 6 starts. In his 30 September innings pitched, he has given up just 11 hits, walked 6 and struck out 32. In the last two months, he owns a 76-24 strikeout to walk ratio in 62.1 innings of work. If he isn't an ace, he is getting close.

ESPN's Buster Olney wrote on Friday about when, not if, the Rays will trade ace starter David Price. He states that his value will never be higher than it is right now, as he is a legitimate candidate for the American League Cy Young award this season. Among the teams he mentions as possible trade partners for the Rays includes the Royals, who are absolutely desperate for a No. 1 starting pitcher. Could the Rays deal Wil Myers for the opportunity to slot Price in as their No. 1 and the chance to sign him long term? I think it makes sense for both teams.

About a month ago, I wrote off Matt Wieters' 2012 season as a disappointment, but like he did last year, he has hit well late in the season, and currently has put up a triple slash line of .250-.332-.439 with 22 HRs, 65 runs and 82 RBI. I predicted a breakout season for him prior to this season, so like others, maybe I was a year early. I am not sure if he will ever put up a well above average batting average, but the power is there for him to approach a 30 HR season in the near future.

Some baseball writers are starting to back Giants catcher Buster Posey as an MVP candidate. For me, the most logical MVP candidate is Ryan Braun, but the baseball writers will focus more on the PED story from last offseason, and dismiss his 2012 season. He won the MVP last season, but has actually put up a much better season in 2012:

Year Age G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
2007 23 113 451 91 146 26 6 34 97 15 29 112 .324 .370 .634 1.004 154 286
2008 24 151 611 92 174 39 7 37 106 14 42 129 .285 .335 .553 .888 130 338
2009 25 158 635 113 203 39 6 32 114 20 57 121 .320 .386 .551 .937 146 350
2010 26 157 619 101 188 45 1 25 103 14 56 105 .304 .365 .501 .866 131 310
2011 27 150 563 109 187 38 6 33 111 33 58 93 .332 .397 .597 .994 166 336
2012 28 142 553 98 174 32 3 40 106 29 60 120 .315 .390 .600 .990 160 332
6 Yrs 871 3432 604 1072 219 29 201 637 125 302 680 .312 .374 .569 .943 147 1952
162 Game Avg. 162 638 112 199 41 5 37 118 23 56 126 .312 .374 .569 .943 147 363
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/22/2012.

He currently leads the NL in HRs, SLG and OPS, is tied for the lead in RBI, and is one stolen base from a 40 home run, 30 stolen base season. Yet the baseball writers will probably vote for Buster Posey instead.

This isn't to take away from Posey's excellent season though. It is more to put focus on what Braun has accomplished after the PED incident. Posey is currently hitting .335-.409-.545 with 23 HRs, 74 runs and 96 RBI for the NL West leading Giants. His power and walks are up this year and his strikeouts are down. I drafted him in the 8th round of my big money, NL-only redraft league this season, and he along with Ryan Braun, Ryan Zimmerman, Aramis Ramirez and a few late round picks Aroldis Chapman and A.J. Burnett, have helped me run away with the league this season. I am up by 25 points right now, and have been for most of the season. This has never happened to any of my teams in the past, and I don't expect it to happen again.

One player who has disappointed this season is Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton. I ranked him in my top 5 outfielders before the season, and he hasn't come close to ranking in the top 20 outfielders all season. He has hit better in the second half of the season, mostly in August and September, which has helped to raise his triple slash line to .280-.356-450 with just 15 HRs, 98 runs, 62 RBI and 16 stolen bases this season. Fantasy owners can't complain about the runs scored and stolen bases, but the power and RBI drop are a concern. I think he bounces back to the 2011 version of Justin Upton in 2013, but I wonder where he will call home next season. He was rumored to be dealt at the trade deadline, and there are persistent rumors that he will be traded in the offseason. If he lands in Texas, he will move up a few spots in my outfielder rankings, as he could be the band aid to the Rangers letting Josh Hamilton leave via free agency.

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