Prospect Report: Scouting The Phillies’ Aaron Nola & Looking At His Potential Arrival

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Aaron Nola, the seventh overall selection in the 2014 draft, recently got to face the New York Yankees.  With many considering him the most advanced arm in last season’s draft, there’s a good chance that he arrives in the Majors this season so the experience was a good one.  The Yankees trotted out nearly their regular season lineup including Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann and Brett Gardner.

So how did he look?  Here are my thoughts from his performance:

Control – This is expected to be his strong suit, and he didn’t disappoint.  He didn’t walk a batter in his three innings and only went to a three ball count against one of the 15 batters he faced.  He did occasionally leave the ball up in the zone, but it didn’t hurt him and is something he should be able to correct.

Fastball – He had good movement on the pitch, which sat between 91 and 93 mph (touching 94).  He did a very good job using it to back people off the plate.  Reports are that he does throw the pitch harder, so maybe once his arm is up to speed he’ll tack on another mph or two (though he certainly could get by at this speed given his control). Read more

Updated 2015 Fantasy Rankings: Outfielders: #21-40 (Tiered)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The playing time situation in Boston has definitely had an impact on our rankings, but that’s not the only situation impacting things.  How do the rankings currently shake out?  Let’s take a look at the next set of our outfield rankings:

 

Tier 5 (continued):
21. Mookie Betts – Boston Red Sox
22. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals
23. Matt Kemp – San Diego Padres
24. Yoenis Cespedes – Detroit Tigers
25. Shin-Soo Choo – Texas Rangers
26. Marcell Ozuna – Miami Marlins
27. Charlie Blackmon – Colorado Rockies
28. Mark Trumbo – Arizona Diamondbacks
29. Leonys Martin – Texas Rangers Read more

Bullpen Banter: Mujica May Open As Closer, But Is He Boston’s Best Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has been battling a hamstring injury for the past few weeks and, with each passing day, it’s becoming abundantly clear that he won’t be ready for Opening Day.  Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal (click here for the article) recently published the following quote from manager John Farrell regarding replacing the closer:

“I’m not saying this is strictly a closer-by-committee,” the manager said. “We would look to close games out with Eddie. But if there are certain situations where we feel like a better matchup is with a lefthander, I’m not opposed to doing that.”

Mujica excelled as the Cardinals closer in 2013, racking up 37 saves, but you have to wonder if he is the best suited option for the role.   Read more

Updated 2015 Fantasy Rankings: Outfielders: #1-20 (Tiered)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There hasn’t been significant movement at the top of our outfield rankings, though the potential injury to Carlos Gonzalez has the potential to shake things up a bit.  That said, who are truly the best options?  Let’s take a look:

 

Tier 1:
1. Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels

Tier 2:
2. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates
3. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins
4. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
5. Adam Jones – Baltimore Orioles
6. Carlos Gomez – Milwaukee Brewers Read more

Top 10 Closers Likely To Lose Their Job: #2 Joe Nathan

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

2014 Statistics
35 saves (7 blown saves), 4.81 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 8.38 K/9, 4.50 BB/9

Potential Replacements

  • Joakim Soria
  • Joba Chamberlain
  • Bruce Rondon

Why He’s On The List
Do we really need to go into detail? The only reason Nathan didn’t lose his job last season was because the lack of trustworthy alternatives. With Soria now with the team, as well as healthy, and Rondon working his way back from Tommy John surgery Nathan doesn’t have that luxury. Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Should Adam LaRoche’s Second Half Struggles Cause Us To Avoid Him?

by Ray Kuhn

On the surface, Adam LaRoche’s 2014 season didn’t look that much different from either of the past two. Of course the most recent numbers are the ones that are freshest in our mind and for LaRoche that was a .218 batting average in 266 at bats in the second half.

Regardless of his struggles to end the season, he is often an overlooked option come draft day. In mixed leagues this does not mean LaRoche should be a starting first baseman, I currently have him at 23 in my personal rankings, but for a minimal investment there is a value as a CI or Utility option.

When you buy him you are doing so for the power numbers, not the batting average. Over the past three seasons there has been fluctuations in that department (.271, .237 and .259), while he has continued to own his power skills.

If you look deeper, last year was the tale of two halves as he posted a batting average of .307 in the first half. Luck was involved on both ends as the first baseman had hit percentages of 35% and 23%, so each extreme was covered. However, he showed improvement in his contact rate, 78%, and that remained constant all season. Read more