Good morning. Here are your fantasy baseball links for today:
Ranking All 30 MLB Closers (As Of June 27, 2011) | Rotoprofessor
Hanrahan is criminally underrated at #8. He seems like a guy you can target as a throw-in on slightly uneven trades to tip the scales in your favor.
Toss out RP-eligible starters and the top 10 relievers in the game in order are Venters, Hanrahan, Francisco Cordero, Brian Wilson, Drew Storen, Kimbrel, J.J. Putz, Kyle Farnsworth, Fernando Salas and Adams. Ryan Madson ranks 11th. How many of those guys could you nail as top 10 relievers at the mid-point of the season? Wilson sure, Kimbrel and Putz maybe. You tell someone on March 31 that Cordero would be the third best reliever in fantasy through June and they’d call you Mrs. Cordero.
I've found myself checking pitchers' upcoming schedules frequently in my fantasy leagues and often it can make a difficult decision into an easy one. When I am faced with a tough decision of which pitcher to drop and there is no obvious candidate, it can be worth it to give a quick glance to which teams each pitcher will face in his next couple of starts. If one of the pitchers has an unusually unfavorable schedule, my dilemma becomes much more manageable.
[Chacin's] minor league numbers indicate he has the ability for fabulous control. That being said, I think this is his adjustment year. The slight dip in K/9 doesn’t worry me at all because it has been accompanied by a lower BB/9 and an above average HR/FB rate. The higher Home Run rate is to be expected in Coors, but there’s typically a correlation between walk rates and HR/FB rates. Chacin’s track record implies those rates will regress to a mean, and I expect his K rates to spike.
Stauffer’s strikeout rate is up almost a full whiff per nine this year (7.45 K/9) and he’s getting an above average number of ground balls (54.5%). With a walk rate hovering around two per nine (under that if you take out intentional walks), Stauffer’s not just a solid fantasy option, he’s a borderline ace.
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Freeman's swing is generating plenty of line drives, but his fly-ball rate is a bit low for a slugger (34-percent overall). However, that fly-ball rate has risen to about 39-percent this month and could very well continue to trend in that direction going forward.
Adam can't hit the ball that far any more. There may be many reasons for his, but since his distance dropped against both right-handed and left-handed pitchers, it may be Adam more than the way he's being pitched. Given that opponents are more likely to pitch him inside, it seems Adam lost some bat speed. Maybe a lighter bat will help, but it could also be that at age 31, like Pat Burrell, he physically lost part of his ability to hit.
Sanchez has a 11.7% swinging strike rate, or the fourth-best number among qualified pitchers. The worst strikeout rate of a pitcher with a swinging strike rate over 11.5% this year is 8.18 by Shaun Marcum. Even if Sanchez strikes out fewer batters going forward, he should comfortably out-pace his career rate (7.28 K/9 career). He's showing the best fastball velocity of his career and has the per-pitch swinging strike rate to back up his strikeout rate this year.
Soria’s struggles seem to have been based on introducing a new pitch this season. While we’ve seen other pitchers learn a cutter and experience a rebirth, Soria had no reason to tinker with his approach. Based on his past performance, Soria was viewed as one of the top — if not the top — closers in fantasy baseball. His demotion once again proved the true volatility of the closer position, but his rebirth also proves that talent will often overcome struggles.
Chisenhall has always excited scouts with his quick, short swing, plus bat speed, and power to all fields. His plate discipline isn't spectacular, but it isn't bad, and he keeps his strikeouts under control. He's particularly strong against right-handed pitching, and scouts detect few flaws in his approach, saying that he handles fastballs, breaking pitches, and changeups well. Most scouts believe he'll hit for both average and power as he matures.
One of the biggest issues for Chisenhall is going to be his performance against left-handed pitching. This season at triple-A, Chisenhall hit only .200/.282/.360 against lefties. If he struggled that much against minor league lefties, it is very unlikely that he'll find much success against big-league lefties.
Usually we don't get too excited about the promotion of a minor leaguer who was hitting .261 with 7 HR (.165 ISO) and 0 SB (249 AB) and this isn't an exception. Lonnie is solid, but that's about as far as I can go with the fluffing. He's going to strikeout around the major league average, the power isn't extraordinary and he's not going to steal bases. He does have a cool name though and he does play Third Base so he'll be useful in deeper leagues.
Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten Pack | Baseball Prospectus
Baldwin, Dickerson, Erlin, Franklin, Hicks, Lavarnway, Saladino, Sanchez, Swanner, Warren
Fantasy Baseball Player Prospecting: Futures Game - World AL pitchers | KFFL.com
Chris Hadorn breaks down the AL members of the World pitching staff for the Futures Game, including a potential long-term candidate for White Sox saves and a Rangers arm with elite potential.
Minor League Notes, June 27th, 2011 | Minor League Ball
Robbie Erlin, Kyle Hallock, Austin Wright, Brian Flynn
MLB Power Rankings: Mariners On Top, Red Sox At Bottom | Baseball Nation
Power rankings from around Major League Baseball for June 27th, 2011.
What Sports Do Democrats and Republicans Watch? | National Journal
The biggest surprises in my mind are the PGA Tour and WWE.