Fake Teams Fantasy Baseball Podcast is back!
Zack Smith and I recorded the first podcast of the season last night, where we spent almost two hours talking about a bunch of guys including Dee Gordon, Jose Abreu, Yordano Ventura, Masahiro Tanaka, so American League young pitchers making an impact, and much more.
Make sure you check out the podcast when over at Blog Talk Radio:
Miguel Cabrera: Back to the old Miggy
Just a few weeks ago, April 21st to be exact, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera was hitting just .206-.275-.333 ith one home run and seven RBI. Since then, he has hit in 12 of his last 13 games, including last night where he went 1-4 with a home run and two RBI. Over those 13 games, Cabrera is 22-57 with three home runs, 12 runs scored and 18 RBI. Those of you who were thinking this was going to be the year he underperforms his draft day value were a little too early and hopefully you did not deal him.
With his recent hitting streak, Miggy has raised his slash line to .292-.336-.483 with 4 home runs, 15 runs, 25 RBI and an un-Miggy-like 23-8 strikeout to walk rate in 120 at bats. He may not win the MVP award for the third consecutive year, but he appears all the way back to the hitter we expected on Opening Day. At some point, though, he will decline, but I am not willing to begin that conversation yet.
For more on Miggy and the Tigers, make sure you check out Bless You Boys, SB Nation's Tigers fan site.
Is it time to buy Marlins starter Tom Koehler?
Actually, it might be time to buy all Marlins starters, but Koehler's performance this season has to be among one of the bigger surprises thus far. I recall seeing a link to a piece on Koehler in a recent Buster Olney blog post (I think), where the Marlins pitching coach was praising Koehler for some changes he has made on the mound.
Yesterday, Koehler shut out the Mets on just two hits, a walk and five strikeouts in eight innings in the Marlins 1-0 win. Koehler did not get the win, but he should have. He is now 3-2 with a 1.99 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 4.37 xFIP and a 29-17 strikeout to walk rate. I have to admit that although I like how he has pitched so far, I like starters who strike out more than six batters per nine innings. His 5.76 K/9 shows he is not dominant on the mound, but the fact that he keeps the ball on the ground at a 50% rate is a good sign. His FIP is more than two runs higher than his ERA at the moment, meaning he is pitching worse than his ERA indicates. Add in the fact that his batting average of balls in play sits at .195 and his strand rate hovers around 86%, and some regression is in his future. Ride him while he is hot, but know that this might be the best time to deal him if you can find a buyer in your league.
For more on Koehler and the hot Marlins, make sure you check out Fish Stripes, SB Nation's Marlins fan site.
I know it's early in the season, but are you Joey Votto owners starting to get concerned with his performance at the plate this season? Votto went 0-4 last night, lowering his slash line to .263-.413-.432 with four home runs, 17 runs scored and 10 RBI in 118 at bats and 33 games. Manager Bryan Price is batting him in the two spot in the Reds lineup, which makes sense since he walks so much. but fantasy owners expect more from their first baseman, and Votto isn't providing that right now. He is on pace to hit 20 home runs, score 83 runs and drive in…..49 runs?!?! The Reds rank 25th in runs scored with 126 in 33 games thus far, and appear to miss Shin-Soo Choo. Billy Hamilton is exciting at the top of the Reds lineup, but his hand injury may land him on the disabled list if it doesn't improve. Could the Reds look to trade for an outfielder?
Another first baseman who was ranked high in many preseason rankings is Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. Yesterday, he went 3-4 with a walk, run scored and 4 RBI in the Royals 8-0 win over the Padres. Hosmer is now hitting .306-.349-.425 with just one home run, 15 runs scored, 17 RBI and no stolen bases. The lack of power and stolen bases is going to hurt his fantasy value if this keeps up. His power appeared as the weather got warmer last season, but if he continues to not hit for power, I will probably drop him in my rankings. He hits too many ground balls (50%), so that will have to change for the power to appear.
Another hitter who has struggled with the power after two consecutive 30 home run seasons is Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. Coming into Wednesday night's game, he had hit just one home run on the season, disappointing fantasy owners. Last night, Jones went deep twice in the Orioles 4-2 win over the Rays. Jones is now hitting .260-.278-.394 with just three home runs, 15 runs, 17 runs, 3 stolen bases and a terrible 30-4 strikeout to walk rate in 127 at bats thus far. As a Jones owner, I can only hope the two home runs leads to a hot streak for him.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is the one of the hottest hitters in the game right now, along with teammate Troy Tulowitzki. He went 3-5 with two RBI in the Rockies 9-2 win over the Rangers last night, and has now hit in 27 straight games. He raised his slash line to .324-.346-.535 with six home runs, 21 runs scored and 26 RBI in 36 games. His hitting streak will end at some point, but it isn't getting much media attention for some reason. He is rewarding his fantasy owners this season and is on pace for 27 home runs and 117 RBI. I doubt he reaches either, but something in the range of 20-23 home runs and 85-90 RBI would be a great season for Arenado.
If you are looking for a good hitting shortstop, you might want to consider grabbing Mets infielder Wilmer Flores off the waiver wire, as he is getting the call up today, per Adam Rubin from ESPN, via Twitter:
Got more confirmation Wilmer Flores will be joining Mets. Flores lifted his Triple-A average to .307 with his 3-for-6 performance Wednesday.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) May 8, 2014
He isn't a good fielder, but the Mets need his bat in their lineup right now. Could he be any worse than Hanley Ramirez at shortstop?
Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera was having a career year last season before getting suspended for his taking PEDs. In just 95 games, ECab hit .283-.355-.381 with 54 runs scored, 31 RBI and 37 stolen bases in 49 attempts. Some probably questioned whether his performance was due to PEDs, and that is fair. Fast forward to 2014, and Cabrera has disappointed his owners to date. The Padres are struggling to score runs and Cabrera is struggling at the plate. Last night, he went 0-4 to lower his slash line to .246-.267-.317 with 11 runs scored, 3 RBI and just 5 stolen bases in 8 attempts. His 37-4 strikeout to walk rate in 142 at bats is a bit alarming as well, as his K% has jumped from 16% in 2013 to 25% this season, and his walk rate has plummeted from 9.4% to just 2.7% this season. He will need to improve his walk and contact rate to have any fantasy value for his owners this season, as his only skill is his speed and ability to score runs.
For more fantasy baseball (and football) news and rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one stop for all the fantasy news you need on a daily basis.