2017 Projection: Now In Seattle, Is Drew Smyly An Overdraft Waiting To Happen?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Drew Smyly has always been viewed as a high upside pitcher, though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t questions whether or not he’ll live up to the hype  Just looking at the numbers from last season would make us wonder just how high the ceiling is:

175.1 IP
7 Wins
4.88 ERA
1.27 WHIP
167 Strikeouts (8.57 K/9)
49 Walks (2.52 BB/9)
31.3% Groundball Rate
.291 BABIP

Obviously there are skills that would bring hope, but at the end of the day a 4.88 ERA is a 4.88 ERA.  There was some bad luck (67.7% strand rate), but it goes deeper than that.  Now in Seattle, could those issues be wiped away? Read more

Buying the Breakout: Why The Marlins’ Tom Koehler Belongs On Your Radar

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There are a significant number of potential breakout pitching candidates, especially if you are targeting the hard-throwing young arms who litter rosters across the league.  That makes it easy to potentially overlook an “older” starter who simply may have found something and turned the corner.

Enter the Marlins’ Tom Koehler, who altered his approach last season yielding improved results.  Here’s our writeup from our 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (click here to purchase) to help get things started:

We saw his strikeout rate jump in the second half (7.03 to 8.03 K/9), while his control improved (4.59 to 3.79 BB/9).  The strikeouts are out of character, but he also changed his approach as the usage of his slider jumped to 23.7% (14.0% in ’15), and even more in the second half (26.4%).  That had an impact on his success, as it is his best swing and miss pitch (19.28%) and coupled a good changeup (16.44% Whiff%) there’s reason to believe he can maintain the elevated mark.  Add that to an expected improvement in his home run rate at home (1.34 HR/9) and a career 3.63 BB/9 and there’s suddenly a lot to like.  Mark him down as well worth the late round selection. Read more

ADP Watch: At His Current ADP, Is Tom Murphy A Value Pick For 2017?

by Ray Kuhn

In looking at the catcher position, either you are in or you are out. If paying market value for a Top 5 catcher isn’t how you choose to build your team, and it’s not my preferred strategy, there are options to wait on.  Waiting on filling your catcher slot, or slots, means the position is deep, it just means that there isn’t much differentiation once you get out of the top tier. There are obviously multiple tiers and a clear hierarchy, but things even out pretty quickly once you move past the Top 10. When sitting down to compile my catcher rankings, I often find more cons than pros and, in most cases, upside is limited.

In leagues that start two catchers, it is difficult to punt both slots but you also want the most bang for your buck. The key is identifying those few players that you feel a little more comfortable about and that provide some upside. For me, Tom Murphy is one of those players.

Where you draft Murphy, and this is key when searching for value, will likely be lower than where he finishes the season. The reason for that is his power, plain and simple. Read more

Cheap Speed To Target: The White Sox’ Charlie Tilson Is Worth The Late Round Flier

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Player – Charlie Tilson
Team – Chicago White Sox
NFBC ADP – 407.54

It’s evident that no one is paying much attention to Tilson, and maybe that has to do with him not being guaranteed a spot in the starting lineup.  When you look at his 2016 production at Triple-A, there also doesn’t appear to be a reason to get excited:

.282 (99-351), 4 HR, 34 RBI, 53 R, 15 SB

Throw in tearing his hamstring one game into his first taste of the Majors and it all comes together for the perfect storm of reasons to overlook him.  That said he has as good a chance as anyone to not only claim the centerfield job, but also hit atop the batting order for the rebuilding franchise.  Read more

Sound-Off: Who Should Be The #1 Ranked Catcher?

Earlier today we posted our formal Top 15 Catcher rankings for 2017 with a bit of a surprise, as Jonathan Lucroy edged out Buster Posey for the top spot.  Do you agree? Disagree?  Let us know who you think should be the preseason #1 ranked catcher and make sure to share your reasons in the comments!

2017 Rankings: Top 15 Catchers (Lucroy Barely Takes Top Spot & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The days of Buster Posey being the clear top catching option have come and gone.  Not only is he joined in the top tier by two players, he’s been knocked out of the top spot (though just barely)!  The second tier also isn’t far behind, and with numerous high power option filling out the rankings the need to reach for one of the better catchers simply isn’t there.  That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth owning, but the price tag obviously plays a significant role.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how our rankings currently stand:

1. Jonathan Lucroy – Texas Rangers
2. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants
3. Gary Sanchez – New York Yankees
4. J.T. Realmuto – Miami Marlins
5. Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs
6. Matt Wieters – Free Agent
7. Salvador Perez – Kansas City Royals
8. Brian McCann – Houston Astros Read more