Fake Teams Podcast, Episode 28: A little less expensive
Zack and Andrew hosted episode 28 of the Fake Teams podcast, discussing Andrew preseason bold predictions, Francisco Liriano, Ichiro's 4,000th hit, Nate Schierholtz and replacements for Jason Heyward among others.
You can listen to the podcast in two ways:
Joey Votto: Is he overrated as a fantasy first baseman?
A few years ago, a former Fake Teams writer wrote a piece opining that Reds first baseman Joey Votto is overrated. He got some negative feedback in the comments section of that article, but the more I look at Votto this season, I am beginning to agree.
What I look for in a fantasy first baseman is someone who can hit for power and drive in runs, and when I look at Votto's stats from this season, he is doing neither. After going 2-5 with a HR and an RBI last night, Votto is hitting .314-.433-.502 with 19 HRs, 85 runs and 60 RBI. He is on pace for 24 HRs and 75 RBI. For me, his high batting average and on base percentage is not enough to rank him as a top 5 fantasy first baseman.
Amongst all fantasy first baseman, Votto ranks 2nd in runs scored and batting average, 10th in HRs and 16th in RBI. Just to give you an idea as to how bad his RBI total is: Albert Pujols who has played in about a month has more RBI than Votto. Rays first baseman James Loney is just 5 RBI behind Votto. James Loney!!! Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who struggled in the first two months of this season has more RBI than Votto.
For more on Votto and the Reds, check out Red Reporter, SB Nation's Reds fan site.
Jon Lester returning to form
Red Sox starter Jon Lester had a rough stretch in June where he allowed 24 runs in 28+ innings, including 8 home runs, but he has been solid in every other month this season. Yesterday, he took the mound at Dodger Stadium and silenced the hot Dodgers lineup, holding them to one run on 3 hits, 4 walks and struck out 6 in the Red Sox 4-2 win.
Lester is now 12-7 with a 3.97 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.31 WHIP and a 141-57 strikeout to walk rate in 172.1 innings this season. His overall stats don't show how well he has pitched this season, as he endured that rough month of June, but here is his monthly ERAs this season:
I know this is using stats to make him look better, but take away his month of June performance, and he has a 3.25 ERA right now.
For more on Lester, make sure you check out Over the Monster, SB Nation's Red Sox fan site.
Jason Castro: Breakout fantasy catcher
Who saw this from Jason Castro in 2013? Not I. Last night, Castro went 3-3 with 2 HRs, a walk, 3 runs and 3 RBI in the Astros 8-5 win over the Blue Jays. Castro is now hitting .278-.350-.490 with 17 HRs, 57 runs and 51 RBI in 406 at bats.
Amongst all fantasy catchers, only Wilin Rosario, J.P. Arencibia and Matt Wieters have more home runs than Castro and ranks in the top 10 in HR, runs, RBI and batting average right now. He will certainly move up my 2014 catcher rankings, and I could see him in the lower third of my top 10 catchers.
For more on Castro and the Astros, please check out Crawfish Boxes, SB Nation's Astros fan site.
Phillies prospect Maikel Franco played first base for the first time on Saturday and apparently will be playing there for the rest of the season for AA Reading. Franco has had a breakout season in 2013 splitting time in High A and AA, and is hitting .314-.351-.561 with 28 HRs and 95 RBI this season. I wonder what this means for Ryan Howard's future in Philadelphia. I am not sure how they can rid themselves of that contract, but you never know what American League team might come calling this offseason if the Phillies are willing to eat at least half of his contract.
I am not surprised by anything that Marlins starter Jose Fernandez does anymore. He just keeps on impressing in most every start. Yesterday, he shut out the Rockies on 4 hits, no walks and 8 strikeouts in 7 innings of work. He is now 10-5 with a 2.30 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and a 165-51 strikeout to walk rate in 152.2 innings this season. It appears he is getting better as the season goes along. Here are his monthly ERAs and batting average against, by month:
April: 4.50 ERA, .225 BAA
May: 3.18 ERA, .224 BAA
June: 1.67 ERA, .167 BAA
July: 2.06 ERA, .174 BAA
August: 0.82 ERA, .161 BAA
He very well could be in the Top 10 starting pitcher conversation in 2014.
A's starter Jarrod Parker struggled out of the gates this season, but has been pitching very well of late. Yesterday, he limited the Orioles to 1 run on 5 hits, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts in 8 innings of work, his third straight start of 8 innings or more. Parker is now 10-6 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in his 26 starts this season.
Tigers starter Max Scherzer is having one heckuva season in 2013, and it continued on Saturday, as he shut out the Mets on 3 hits, 4 walks and 11 strikeouts in 6 innings yesterday. He is now an unbelievable 19-1 with a 2.73 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and a 196-42 strikeout to walk rate in 178.1 innings this season. Right now, I am not sure how he doesn't win the American League Cy Young award this season. Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish might have something to say about that before the season is over though.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley was coming off a breakout season coming out of spring training and hopes for a repeat of 2012 were high. Well, it appears last season may have been just a one year fluke, as he has struggled mightily this season. After going 1-2 with a walk last night, Headley is hitting .239-.330-.370 with 8 HRs, 48 runs, 35 RBI and 6 stolen bases in 427 at bats. Teams were asking to trade for him last season and into the offseason and the Padres didn't budge. Headley won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, so he has two years to prove 2012 was not just an aberration.