Real or Fake, Part II: Trying To Decipher Who To Trust & Who To Ignore Down The Stretch

by Rich Justmann

Greetings my Young Apprentices. Last week’s ‘real or fake’ article stirred up some great conversation. Given that you only have a couple weeks to pull out your championship, every move is key. Here is volume 2 of our FAKE or REAL game.

- Ryan Braun: FAKE. Thumb injury. Lost his Miami connection.
- Elvis Andrus: FAKE. Has one hit since June 23rd
- Matt Kemp: REAL. I can hardly believe I wrote that about Kemp.
- Chris Archer: FAKE. Fatigue is showing (though it didn’t yesterday)
- Steve Cishek: REAL. Topsy-turvy year but finishing strong.
- Yadier Molina: FAKE. Evidence suggests he’s not healthy.
- Michael Cuddyer: FAKE. Yes, he’s back. No, he’s not right.
- Sergio Romo: FAKE. He’s not getting the closer gig back.
- Drew Storen: REAL. Enjoy the production. Read more

10 Stories From 09/14/2014 Box Scores: Bogaerts Streaking To Finish, Is Chris Archer Fully Breaking Out & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We have just two weeks left in the season, so this truly is crunch time.  Who is producing at the right time?  Who can we trust?  Who can’t we?  Let’s take a look at everything we need to know coming out of yesterday’s action:

 

1) Neil Walker continues to prove that he has fully emerged in 2014…
He went 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 2 R yesterday, putting him at .279 with 20 HR and 69 RBI on the season.  The power has been the biggest question all season long, but he’s continued to produce at an elevated level with a 12.9% HR/FB in the first half and 12.2% entering the day in the second.  Coupled with his potential for a strong average (15.1% strikeout rate, 22.4% line drive rate, .294 BABIP), as well as his spot as the cleanup hitter (at least for now), and there’s an awful lot to like.  He’s a lock to be a Top 10 option at 2B entering 2015 and could even potentially push Top 5.  We’ll take a much closer look at him as the season comes closer. Read more

Two-Start Pitchers 2014: September 15-21: Are There Any Gambles Worth Taking?

by Ray Kuhn

We are now one week closer to end of the marathon known as the 2014 baseball season. Don’t take anything for granted as the season draws to a conclusion as every strikeout and earned run is critical. If you are looking to make a bold move, here’s one to consider:

  • Have I gone crazy? Am I really advocating going with a rookie pitcher on the Rockies that is making two starts at home? Yes that is correct, if Tyler Matzek is not owned yet in your league he should be, and he is someone worth starting this week. His ERA for the season sits at 4.23, but he has a second half ERA of 3.76 and also sports a 3.64 mark in Coors Field. The rookie, as illustrated by his 1.36 WHIP and 40 walks in 106.1 innings, does have control problems but they haven’t stopped him from having success. He is working on a streak of five straight quality starts, and his last start was a complete game shutout against the Padres where he allowed three hits and one walk while striking out six. That is enough for me to take a shot.

Now let’s take a look at all the pitchers who are making two starts this week and how they rank: Read more

10 Stories From 09/13/2014 Box Scores: Is Matt Kemp “Back”, Is Zack Wheeler Trustworty & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Bryce Harper delivered a big game, going 3-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, but can he finally deliver for fantasy owners?  Jered Weaver dominated the Astros, allowing 1 ER with 12 K over 7.0 IP.  What else happened that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Jose Quintana was a strikeout machine…
His counterpart, Phil Hughes (7.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 11 K), was no slouch but Quintana was spectacular.  Going 7.0 IP he allowed 1 ER on 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 13, to improve to 8-10 with a 3.30 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.  He went through a rough stretch in August, but has now allowed 4 ER over 20.0 IP in his past three starts.  Overall he owns an 8.00 K/9, though that could be a little bit inflated considering his 8.3% SwStr%, 2.52 BB/9 (right along the lines of his career mark of 2.59) and a 44.5% groundball rate.  The big thing, which will likely regress in 2015, is his 4.4% HR/FB and 0.39 HR/9.  That said, the skill set is there to finish the 2014 campaign strong as well as be a solid option in 2015 as well. Read more

Dynastic Direction: Detroit Tiger Outfielders: Tyler Collins, Daniel Fields & Austin Schotts

by Ivar G. Anderson

There is not much time left in the regular season and, since we are in September, some of those prospects that I examine in this corner are gracing the benches in Major League ballparks these days. That includes one that is featured this week, although I would not expect most of them to make the Opening Day rosters in 2015 out of spring training. I picked my hometown team to examine this week, just for the chance to talk about what a depleted minor league system looks like. Time to get to it, then, and see what is in store for the future of the Tiger outfield:

 

Tyler Collins OF DET (Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens/International League)
Collins was added to the Major League roster when the rosters expanded September 1, but he was on the team earlier this year coming out of spring training (although he was quickly demoted to Toledo after failing to impress in seven games). For the balance of the season he will serve as a left-handed bat off the bench and a pinch runner, although he may get a rare start or two before the season winds down. Read more

10 Stories From 09/12/2014 Box Scores: Betts Backing Up The Hype, Paxton Lights Out Again & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Anthony Rendon continued his breakout, going 3-5 with 1 HR, 1 RBI and 2 R.  Kole Calhoun is proving his upside is for real, going 3-4 with 2 RBI and 3 R as he continued his assault on AL pitching.  Adam Wainwright was among the many pitchers to excel, allowing 1 ER on 6 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, over 8.0 IP as he continues to right the ship.

 

1) Bud Norris & Kevin Gausman silence the Yankees…
In yesterday’s double header the Yankees totaled 1 R on 13 H over 20 innings of baseball (and the only run was courtesy of a solo HR from Chris Young).  Gausman started the first game tossing 7.0 shutout innings allowing 7 H and 2 BB, striking out 7.  In the night cap Norris was even more impressive, wit 7.0 shutout innings allowing 3 H and 2 BB, striking out 10.  While it was a big strikeout night for Norris, who was once considered a good source of Ks, has suddenly started rediscovering that form.  Overall he owns a 7.3% SwStr%, but he’s at 9.2% in September (21 K in 19.0 IP) and 9.7% in August (25 K in 25.1 IP).  In other words, this doesn’t appear to be just a small sample size resurgence.  If you are in need of some help over the final two weeks, he’s worth considering. Read more