Archive for Jimmy

Around the Majors: May 10: Hanson, McGehee & More

by Jimmy Hascup

Despite the shortened Monday schedule, there were many baseball stories to talk about. Is Luis Atilano for real? Would Tommy Hanson be able to tame the high-scoring Milwaukee Brewers? What about Andre Ethier? Would he continue his torrid early-season pace? Let’s look at some of the stories from yesterday’s games:

Pitchers:

Bronson Arroyo (7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K): There’s a reason his ERA is north of five. While Arroyo can certainly string along some solid starts, his propensity to implode certainly doesn’t warrant his usage in fantasy leagues. Plus, these were the Pittsburgh Pirates he faced, not exactly a formidable offense. Arroyo is typically a better pitcher after the break, so that’s when I’d recommend using him, only if you’re truly a desperate owner. The Reds host the Cardinals during Arroyo’s next start, so I wouldn’t expect another outing like this against Pujols and the Cards.

Luis Atilano (5.1 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K): At this point, with three wins in his first four starts, Nationals ownership has to think that starts like this are just icing on the cake. The Mets have been striking out a ton lately, but don’t think that Atilano is a strikeout pitcher by any means, as a 4.8 K/9 in the minors would indicate. He’s hot now, but to me he’s merely one of the placeholders (between Livan Hernandez) until the young phenom, Stephen Strasburg, arrives. Don’t be fooled by his fast start – new pitchers always hold the advantage at the onset, but Atilano really doesn’t offer much in the way of upside for fantasy owners.

Tommy Hanson (8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K): From the looks of his peripheral stats – an 81 percent strand-rate leading the way, there’s no way that Hanson should have a 2.30 ERA right now. Still, that doesn’t mean he’s not a fantasy ace already. Hanson is just filthy and at age-23 has already started to put  together two better freshman and sophomore seasons than Tim Lincecum has. In his first year in the bigs, 24 starts, Lincecum amassed a 4.00 ERA with over a strikeout per inning. Hanson had a 2.89 ERA in 21 starts with just over eight strikeouts per nine innings and this season he has improved across the board (albeit in a month-and-a-half) with more strikeouts and fewer walks than last season. Hanson is just a notch below Lincecum but he’s progressing like someone you want on your fantasy team for the long haul. Read more

Rounding the Bases: April 18th

by Ryan Hallam, from Fighting Chance Fantasy

It is the last day of Week 2 of the fantasy baseball season and there is news flying in by the day. We have news of one of our first big prospects to come to the majors as well as plenty of pitchers who are making a name for themselves and surpassing their expectations. I also realize at one point in the article that I am getting old, and what in the world is going on with Mike Napoli? Get your lineups set early tomorrow because there is the Patriots Day game in Boston that starts at 11am so your lineups may lock earlier than usual. As always, don’t forget to visit our sponsors, Fantasy Alarm and Fantazzle.

Clayton Kershaw had a bit of a shaky start to season, but he showed today exactly what he is capable of. Kershaw gave up just one run to the Giants over seven innings and whiffed nine but wasn’t around to get the decision. Kershaw is one of the finest young pitchers in all of the major leagues and should be a totally dominant arm for a long time. Kershaw needs to be a little more efficient so he can continue to pitch deep into games, but other than that I pretty much have no criticism of him at the age of 22. In keeper/dynasty leagues, he is absolute gold.

Brian Matusz improved to 2-0 with another pretty impressive performance in his rookie season. Matusz gave up three runs over 6.1 innings and struck out eight. He now has 23 Ks in just over 18 innings pitched, and has been pretty solid considering he faced the Rays twice. He is already a very impressive young pitcher and he is just 23 years old. Even in single season leagues I like Matusz as a guy you likely slotted in near the end of your rotation, but in keeper leagues he is a must have.

Ike Davis is almost definitely on his way to the big leagues to replace Mike Jacobs who has been sent to the minors. The Mets called up a minor league pitcher, Tobi Stoner, but it is very unlikely that he stays with the team. Davis has big time power potential, and he should probably hit for a decent average in the majors. At 6’ 4” and 215 pounds he is what I like to call a big boy. He does strike out a decent amount, but not at a Mark Reynolds like clip. If you are in an NL only league it is a no brainer to try to grab Davis. Keeper leagues I would do it if you have a guy who is holding you back, but I don’t think I would let go of a solid player for him. In yearly leagues I think I would take a wait and see approach on Davis unless you are in dire need of home runs or help at first base.

Matt Garza continues his ascent to fantasy greatness with another amazing start for Tampa on Sunday. Garza baffled and shut out the Red Sox for eight innings, allowed just four hits and struck out five. Garza isn’t the strikeout artist that Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay might be, but I think he is going to win 16 games with his eyes closed and in keeper leagues you want this guy on your team. It looks like this is going to be the time that he is going to live up to the expectations from when he was coming up through the minors. Read more

How Are Your Favorite Prospects Doing?

By Jimmy Hascup

After hours of putting together a list that includes nearly all of the top prospects and several reader recommendations, the first edition of the 2010 Rotoprofessor Prospects Release (with over 50 included!) is ready. Each position is broken down, with player names listed alphabetically, along with their parent organization and current minor-league destination. I also included my own player scouting reports for some of the players. The format may change (it’s a bit rough right now) in the future, players may be dropped/added, but this is a start and it’s something to work with from now until the end of the season. We hope to release this type of thing at least once or twice a month. As always, please leave your feedback, as all of us at RP write for you guys and we want you to be satisfied.

Disclaimer: These stats are as of 4/14 (few are from 4/15, it just depends when the stats were reported). I know it’s early, but it at least sets the framework for future releases. You will find prospects’ stats sorted by position. Take a look:

PITCHER

Arrieta, Jake (BAL, AAA): 2 GS: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP (12 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 6 BB, 7 K)

At this pace, Arrieta will get his chance before Tillman gets his second (see below).

Britton, Zach (BAL, AA): 2 GS: 1-0, 2.61 ERA, 0.97 WHIP (10.1 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 9 K)

Bumgarner, Madison (SF, AAA): 2 GS: 0-1, 14.14 ERA, 3.29 WHIP (7.0 IP, 21 H, 11 ER, 6 K)

Bumgarner was ready to become the next the next big thing in the major leagues. Now he barely reaches 90 mph and his prospect status is dropping with each start.

Carrasco, Carlos (CLE, AAA): 2 GS: 1-0, 2.92 ERA, 1.46 WHIP (12.1 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 12 K)

Chacin, Jhoulys (COL, AAA): 2 GS: 1-0, 3.72 ERA, 1.35 WHIP (9.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 5 BB, 11 K)

Chapman, Aroldis (CIN, AAA): 1 GS: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.29 WHIP (4.2 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K)

An explosive fastball, and devastating stuff, Chapman could see the majors before Strasburg does. It’s the type of arm that could be the x-factor in fantasy leagues.

Crow, Aaron (KC, AA): 2 GS:: 0-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP (10.2 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 K)

Drabek, Kyle (TOR, AA): 2 GS: 1-1, 5.06 ERA, 1.41 WIHP (10.2 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 10 K)

He could see time in the majors this year, but with the way Toronto’s starters have begun the season, he may get some needed seasoning in the minors instead. Read more

Fantasy Q&A With BP’s Marc Normandin

By Jimmy Hascup

I had the opportunity to send several questions over to the fantasy manager at Baseball Prospectus, Marc Normandin. I’m one of the believers that you can’t get enough opinions in the fantasy-sports world and the more you get, the more you are able to combine all the voices and make judgments on your own. BP is a site I greatly respect and I was fortunate enough to have Marc take time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions – and give a bit of advice – pertaining to the 2010 season.

1) Who are your top breakout players for this year from the NL and AL, respectively.

From the NL, I expect Carlos Gonzalez to breakout–he was a guy that kept slipping in fantasy drafts for some reason, and I don’t understand it. He’s a big-time sleeper, but won’t be after this year. As for the AL, though he did a little of this in the second half of last season, look for Brett Anderson. He’s going to show everyone that he’s already an ace, and well ahead of the more highly-touted Rick Porcello as far as performance goes.

2) Who are your top rookies (besides, of course, Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg) from the AL and NL that you see making an impact in fantasy leagues this season?

Aroldis Chapman is the big one for me. I’m curious about how his control and secondary stuff translates in the majors, but his fastball is devastating in any league, at any level. He’s young, and is going to be fun to watch, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he was able to perform at the same level as Strasburg in his debut season.

In the AL, I’ll go with Brian Matusz, who I think is already a very well-established pitcher. People may not trust him because he hasn’t been out of the minors long, but if you’ve been watching him in 2010, you already know what I mean. Read more

Fantasy Breakfast: Top Baseball Stories From April 14

by Jimmy Hascup

A full slate of games, with a lot of power on display, as well as some outstanding pitching performances. Let’s take a look at who made the cut:

Hitters

BJ Upton (2-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R): Most owners drafted Upton based on his undeniable power-speed upside and game’s like this have to get you a little excited. Upton is an extremely streaky power-hitter – meaning his power comes in bunches and this may be the start of one of those runs for Upton. The speed will be there, it’s the power that would put the icing on the cake for fantasy owners – and would put Upton among the top outfield options in the game.

Chase Utley (2-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB): For those who questioned whether Utley or Kinsler should be the first taken off the board, let the eight-game old season be a reminder: Kinsler is on the DL, while Utley continues to rake with the Pujols-es of the world. Utley has four homeruns, 10 RBI and is batting .367. A third straight year of 30-plus homeruns, and his fifth year of 100-plus RBI should be easily attainable. This guy should be untouchable in fantasy leagues. For good measure, I’ll mention Shane Victorino (4-5, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 R) and his impressive night. Victorino was batting below .200 entering this game, but after it he’s batting .250. The power really isn’t part of his repotoire, but he does have two homers and 10 RBI already, which is a bonus to owners.

Jose Guillen (3-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB): Raise your hand if you have Jose Guillen on your team (only five percent in ESPN leagues do)? Raise your hand if you expected him (even at this point in the year) to be second in the league in homeruns? After today’s game, Guillen has hit five homeruns in five-straight games. We know he has power, but he’s also one of the least patient hitters in the game, rarely getting on base unless he gets a hit. No matter what, though, owners have to scoop him up and hope you can get him while the streak lasts. Read more

An In-Depth Look at Jaime Garcia, an Overlooked Sleeper Candidate

by Jimmy Hascup

An important skill—especially in the early stages of the season—for any fantasy owner is to notice when a player is struggling, which can easily be achieved by looking at box scores—hitless at-bats (for hitters) and inflated run totals (for pitchers).

It’s important (I’ll stick to pitchers here for obvious reasons) to extrapolate those causes for concern—velocity drop, lack of movement or command of pitches, or just flukey bad luck. It’s also vital to ascertain when these underlying red flags may be causes for concern, and therefore reasons to trade a certain pitcher; and when the hard times suppress a pitchers value so much that it would benefit you to make a bargain trade.

In the midst of sifting through these details for players currently owned in your leagues, it would also behoove you to multi-task and find that hidden gem, or undesired commodity who may prove to be a nice stabilizer for your rotation—and one that can be scooped up at a cheap price from the waiver wire.

Though we’re just one week into the season, there have been several hurlers sparking some conversation as potential sleepers. One of those pitchers, who’s available in 99 percent of ESPN leagues may become a boon to deep-leaguers, is Jaime Garcia of the St. Louis Cardinals.

In his first start of the season against the Milwaukee Brewers he pitched six innings of one-run ball, fanning five and giving up four hits.

Most of the time, fifth starters don’t always warrant any consideration in fantasy leagues; it’s often a fluctuating spot on a major league team—starts are skipped whenever possible, and most of the time their value hinges on their respective offense to outscore the opposition, since they’re not always the most reliable. Read more