Fantasy Football Rankings
In case you missed it, we will be covering fantasy football this season. Actually, we have already started our offseason coverage with rankings and fantasy team previews. Below you will find our early offseason position rankings:
2014 Position Rankings
Rick Porcello: Finally reaching his potential
Tigers young starter Rick Porcello has been one of my favorite sleepers the last few seasons, but he has never put it all together for a full season. His ERA, FIP and xFIP have all improved in each of the last four seasons, including this season. On Tuesday night, Porcello pitched one of his best games of the season, shutting out the solid A's lineup on 4 hits in a complete game shutout. He walked none and struck out none. According to High Heat Stats, that was the first time a team had neither walked or struck out in a nine inning game since 2010:
Since 2010, number of times that a team:
Didn't draw a walk - 1473
Didn't strike out - 32
Didn't do either - 1— High Heat Stats MLB (@HighHeatStats) July 2, 2014
The complete game shutout was his second in a row, and he now has not given up a run in at least his last 24 innings over his last three starts. The win moved Porcello's record to 11-4 with a 3.12 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 3.81 xFIP, a 1.13 WHIP and a 62-24 strikeout to walk rate in 106.2 innings. He currently leads the American League in wins, and is in the top ten in WHIP, win percentage and complete games.
The question his owners have to ask is whether his performance thus far is sustainable or not. He has limited hitters to a .266 BABIP and stranded 76% of base runners thus far, so he has been lucky in some respects. I think he regresses some from here, as his 3.81 xFIP shows he has pitched worse than his ERA indicates.
For more on Porcello, make sure you check out Bless You Boys, SB Nation's Tigers fan site.
What to do with James Shields
I keep getting asked what to do with Royals starter James Shields. Why you ask? Well, Shields hasn't been the pitcher we thought he was before the season started. Of course, he decides to start his decline the first year I draft him in the Tout Wars mixed league. Thank you, Big Game.
On Tuesday night, Shields got knocked around for the 5 runs, 4 earned, on 9 hits, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in 5 innings in the Royals 10-2 loss to the Twins. Shields has been in a funk over the last month, giving up 4 runs or more in 6 of his last 8 starts, resulting in his ERA rising from 2.54 to 3.93. His strikeouts per nine are down this year and his home runs per nine are up, but there is a chance this is the start of the decline for Big Game. Coming into this season, he has logged seven consecutive seasons of 200+ innings pitched, and they might be catching up to him.
At this point, you can't deal him, as other owners won't want to offer fair value for him, and I wouldn't suggest dropping him right now. I am holding him in Tout Wars at the moment.
Discodave from Royals Review wrote this piece on Shields yesterday, and is worth a read:
For more on Shields and the Royals, make sure you check out Royals Review, SB Nation's Royals fan site.
A few weeks ago, I recommended fantasy owners drop Tigers starter Justin Verlander. He had a few bad starts, but recently has turned things around a bit. Yesterday, Verlander limited the A's to 2 runs on 9 hits, no walks and 4 strikeouts in 6 innings of work in the Tigers 9-3 win. Verlander has pitched better of late, giving up 3 runs or less in each of his last three starts, after a streak where he gave up 5 runs or more in six of seven starts. Pitchers can be streaky just like hitters, and maybe he is in the midst of turning his season around, but I still stand by my advice to drop him. His season stats: 4.71 ERA and 1.49 WHIP and his 6.91 strikeouts per nine are all the worst of his storied career.
Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion is once again having a big power year at the plate, and yesterday he hit a game winning home run in the Blue Jays 7-4 win over the Brewers. Encarnacion went 2-4 with the game winning home run and 3 RBI and is now hitting .281-.370-.603 with 26 home runs, 56 runs scored and 69 RBI and currently leads the AL in home runs and RBI, and ranks in the top ten in four other categories. He is on pace for 49 home runs and 130 RBI right now.
I look back in anger at the following trade offer I turned down back in the offseason in my AL only keeper league: $22 Encarnacion for $2 Jason Castro and $15 Eric Hosmer.
I was pretty high on Yankees catcher Brian McCann coming into the season, ranking him as my #1 fantasy catcher. What I didn't consider when ranking him was the possibility of McCann struggling facing pitchers he has never seen before. Yesterday, McCann had a good day at the plate, going 2-4 with a solo home run, but he is hitting just .224-.285-.373 with 10 home runs, 28 runs scored and 37 RBI in 268 at bats thus far. I felt that he could approach 30 home runs with the move out of Atlanta and into Yankee Stadium. He is on pace for 20 home runs and 72 RBI, which is about what one should have expected from him on draft day, but my offseason optimism got the best of me.
Padres starter Tyson Ross faced a tall task on Wednesday afternoon, facing Reds ace Johnny Cueto, but he was up for the challenge. Ross tossed a complete game shutout vs the Reds, giving up just 3 hits, walking none and striking out 9 in the Padres 3-0 win. Ross moved his record to 7-8 with a 2.93 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and a 111-42 strikeout to walk rate in 116.2 innings. He has given up two runs or less in 12 of his 18 starts this season, including his last three starts.
Fantasy Sports Network is Coming Soon!
That's right, there is a new Fantasy Sports Network that is close to going live, and will be available on your cable providers real soon.
FNTSY Sports Network is the first television network to have live studio programming, call-in shows, panels, celebrity and expert drafts, reality programming and on-site commentary from sports venues, all specifically targeted towards the estimated 40 million people who play fantasy sports annually and on a daily basis.
Make sure you check out their site Fantasy Sports Network and check out all they have to offer.
If you are looking for more fantasy baseball, and football, content, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, as they provide links to some of the best fantasy content on the internet on a daily basis.