Current Closer Rankings (July 20, 2018): Who’s The Best, Who Should We Be Concerned About & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know that over the next two weeks there are going to be significant changes to these rankings.  Forget about players who will lose their roles because of performance, the Trade Deadline is always a time for free agent to be closers to be moved to contenders (and most of the time falling into a setup role).  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the rankings currently look:

 

1) Edwin Diaz – Seattle Mariners
2) Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees
3) Craig Kimbrel – Boston Red Sox
4) Sean Doolittle – Washington Nationals
5) Blake Treinen – Oakland A’s
6) Felipe Vazquez – Pittsburgh Pirates
7) Raisel Iglesias – Cincinnati Reds Read more

5 Important Stories From 07/19/18 Box Scores: Is Pham Primed for A Big Second Half, Is Hendricks More Than A Streamer & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After a few days off it was nice to get back to real games.  There was only one on the docket coming out of the All-Star Break, as the Cubs defeated the Cardinals 9-6 in a game featuring 28 hits.  Here are the key notes that fantasy owners need to be aware of, before we get back to the full schedule tonight:

 

What should we make of Carlos Martinez…
He was pitching lights out early, but things completely fell apart in short order.  He had allowed 1 ER over the first 4.0 IP, but the Cubs got him for 5 runs in the fifth, and he finished allowing 6 R (5 earned) on 7 H and 1 BB, striking out 2, over 5.0 IP.  He managed to generate just 3 swinging strikes, and while it hasn’t been an issue overall this season he now has 9 K over 17.0 IP over his past three starts.  He has cut down on the walks, which has been the biggest issue for him this season (4.67 BB/9 entering the day), though he’ll also likely struggle with a few more home runs allowed (he entered with a 0.40 HR/9, though he’s allowed home runs in back-to-back starts) and he has been hit relatively hard (37.4% Hard%, compared to a 30.0% career mark). Read more

Closer Carousel: Looking At The Impact Of Brad Hand Heading To Cleveland (Hand, Allen, Yates & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last night we got the news of the Manny Machado trade, but that appears to be just the start of things.  The Padres and Indians pulled off their own blockbuster this morning:

The Cleveland Indians acquire LHP Brad Hand & RHP Adam Cimber
The San Diego Padres acquire C/OF Francisco Mejia

The move has ramifications for both teams, but let’s first take a look at the impact of the bullpens:

 

Cleveland Indians
Closer – Cody Allen
Next Up – Brad Hand

The acquisition of Hand gives the Indians a proven late inning threat, and allows them to keep Andrew Miller in a versatile, multi-inning role.  Allen has been struggling of late, but it didn’t appear likely that he’d be replaced because of the lack of alternatives.  That all has changed, and the fact that Hand is left-handed won’t be used against him due to the presence of Miller. Read more

Second Half Stud: Why Giving Up On Marcell Ozuna Now Would Be A Serious Mistake

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Moving from Miami to St. Louis was supposed to provide a better environment for Marcell Ozuna.  Coming off a breakout season (.312 with 37 HR and 124 RBI), Ozuna was sent packing as the Marlins tore things down yet again.  There was always going to be a risk in his batting average (.355 BABIP), but that hasn’t been the only issue in the early going:

351 At Bats
.268 Batting Average (94 Hits)
10 Home Runs
49 RBI
38 Runs
2 Stolen Bases
.309 On Base Percentage
.385 Slugging Percentage
.310 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The BABIP is far more believable this year, though he’s also hitting the ball harder (39.1% to 46.6% Hard%).  Couple that with a similar strikeout rate (19.4%) and the decline in power, it makes sense that is average is down…  And that leads us to the bigger question, where have the home runs gone? Read more

Regression Risks: Can These Three “Superstars” Maintain Their Elevated BABIP (Yelich & More)

by Connor Henry

Slightly more than halfway through the 2018 baseball season and 13 qualified batters still hold a BABIP above .360. In 2016 there were only 8 qualified batters able to sustain a BABIP above that mark and in 2017 that number dropped to 7. While these numbers don’t directly speak to a regression coming for certain players, it leads me to believe that a few of those 13 batters might slip below that threshold in the coming months. In order to determine which players might have regression coming there are a couple of batted ball factors we should take a close look at:

  • Line Drive % (LD%) < League Average of 21%
  • Infield Fly Ball % (IFFB%) > League Average of 10%
  • Hard Contact % < League Average of 35%
  • Lack of ability to use all parts of the field (Pull, Center, Opposite)

If certain batters have most of those batted ball tendencies, it might be safe to assume that regression is coming. Let’s dive into a couple of high profile batters who are currently sustaining high BABIP, the first of whom actually resides in that group above the .360 mark: Read more

A Big Name Is Not Enough: Three Pitchers To Avoid For The Second Half

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve reached the midway point of the baseball season, and the time has come to truly evaluate your team and make the necessary adjustments.  Parting with your underperformers is sometimes easier said than done, especially when the player appears to at least have name value.  With that in mind, there are three pitchers we’re avoiding for the second half:

 

Cole Hamels – Texas Rangers
First Half Statistics – 4.36 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 8.97 K/9, 3.29 BB/9

It’s been a disappointing season for Hamels, despite bouncing back in the strikeout department (his SwStr% has rebounded from 9.7% to 12.3%, right along the lines of his career mark, and his O-Swing% from 30.7% to 34.1%).  However that’s where the positives stop.

His control has been pedestrian, and has been for three straight seasons (BB/9):

  • 2016 – 3.45
  • 2017 – 3.22
  • 2018 – 3.29

Read more