Friday, August 12, 2011

Top 5 Closer Candidates

Deep leagues are looking for whatever help they can get, and making the speculative add for saves can be the difference in winning and losing your league. If your desperate for saves, here are 5 guys to choose from.

Rafael Betancourt- The main 8th inning guy for Colorado is going to be a temporary closer while Huston Street is on the shelf. He is definitely a capable pitcher with a 7 K/BB ratio, so if your looking for a decent 4th closer, go make the add now.

Jake McGee- A rookie for Tampa Bay, and he can definitely bring it. He was a candidate to be the closer out of Spring Training, but lost the job to Kyle Farnsworth. With Farnsworth being a possible waiver trade candidate, it would be smart to add McGee in leagues where your chasing saves. He is also a good add in dynasty leagues

Bobby Parnell- Who knows how long Isringhausen will stay the closer, and with Izzy at 299 saves, it wouldn't be surprising to see 6-7 saves for Parnell down the stretch.

Vinnie Pestano- He has had a fantastic year, and with Chris Perez shaky right now, it wouldn't be surprising to see him replaced by the end of the year. There are many options in that bullpen, but Pestano should be the leading candidate. If you want to look even deeper, take a look at Tony Sipp.

Aroldis Chapman- Definitely the biggest name in the Cincinnati bullpen, and if Dusty Baker wasn't so god damn loyal to Cordero he would be closing right now. Everyone knows about the 100+ MPH fastball and devastating slider, but did you know that he went through a streak of games where he had a no-hitter over 9.2 innings? Ya he's that good.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Take Tulo all the way to the bank

I'm sure you remember all about Troy Tulowitzki and his record season that shook the world. Everyone who has to pass through a team in the playoffs with him most likely lost every offensive category. Do you want that to happen again? Obviously not, so go pick him up. Ok so since he isn't available in your 20 team mixer, your gonna have to trade for him. And trust me, this isn't going to be easy. But with Tulo, I recommend pulling out all the big guns. First start with your shortstop. Hopefully you own a Jimmy Rollins or a Starlin Castro type. Next, look at what your opponent is lacking and make an offer based on that. If he is lacking at 2B, offer him a Chase Utley or Ian Kinsler type. A package of Rollins/Kinsler/and a lower pitcher like Jamie Garcia or Daniel Hudson. This should be able to land you a player I think will be the top player the rest of the way. There is no one I wouldn't offer straight up for him, but most people won't feel that way, so you could get a decent player and Tulo for a Bautista/Braun type. Bottom line, do whatever you can to get him.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why don't you believe in me

Needing a little offensive boost? Take a look at this two guys who have been tearing up their leagues lately.

Jesus Guzman SD 1B- Guzman has always been overlooked his entire career. He was signed out of Venezuela in 2000, and now is currently the starting first baseman for the Padres. He was an afterthought this year because of the presence of Anthony Rizzo at AAA. Over the last 14 days, he has a .396 AVG, 3 HR, 3 SB, and 14 RBI. Most people have overlooked his recent hot streak because he is playing in San Diego, but they putting up decent numbers recently and you shouldn't forget about this friar 1B.

Coco Crisp OAK OF- Crisp's 59% owned rate in Yahoo leagues is extremely odd, because I know every team can use a few SB. With 10 SB in the last 14 days, you should feel foolish if he is on your waiver wire. He has twice as many SB as anyone else in the league over the last few weeks, and he can carry a team with his speed. He is on the shelf for a couple of days with a calf strain, so monitor that closely, but if he is good to go he should be in all starting lineups.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm #1! No I'm #1!

Who is your number #1 overall pick next year? Sure we are still in 2011, but its always fun to speculate. Check out the poll on the left-handed side of the page and you will see 13 different options. Sure much will change in the final 50 games or so, but I can't envision anyone else as a candidate for number 1 spot.

Most of those guys aren't in serious consideration, but I threw them in because there will always be that idiot at your draft who feels he owes a debt to Verlander for single-handedly carrying his pitching staff to a championship. I've seen it first hand during one of my recent football drafts. Someone took Drew Brees number two overall in a 14-team single QB league. And this is a manager I have the utmost respect for. That allowed me to grab Jamaal Charles with my 8th overall pick, even though I thought he wouldn't make it past the top 5.

Anyway back to baseball, there are probably 5 legit possibilities at #1 overall, but if was in that position, I would take Ryan Braun. Why? (Your probably asking yourself). Didn't you see Jose Bautista show 2010 wasn't a joke, didnt you see Matt Kemp single-handedly carry the abysmal Dodger offense? Yes reader I did, but here is my argument, one word, consistency.

Let me take a look at Matt Kemp's 2010 season (I can't pull up those stats, too many bad memories surface when those statsitics come up on my screen, but let me tell you, they are bad.) Jose Bautista is harder to make the argument against with consistency. I fully believe (99%) he is for real and he won't let me down. But the 1% of doubt in my mind keeps me from spending the top overall pick on him. I would gladly take any of them as my first pick, I just have more faith in Braun. I can't fault you for picking any other of the other options, just make sure you can defend your pick in the comments, should you choose to reveal your pick.

Now onto why I would pick Braun. Any 5 category stud has a place in my heart, but when you excel in all 5 categories, you make my heart sing. 2nd reason: He is right in the middle if his prime years. He will be 28 for all of next season, which is usually part of the best years of a players career. My final reason: he is the safest bet in baseball. Despite the fact that 2010 was supposedly a down year for him, He still had stats that looked like a career year for most players (.304/101/25/103/14).

So feel free to disagree with me, I know you will.just make sure you bring your argument.

Prospecting: Shelby Miller

Shelby Miller: Born 10/10/90 6'3" 195
Stats (AA): 7-2, 2.48/1.25/9.0
Miller is one of my favorite prospects in all of baseball, and is only behind Matt Moore and Julio Teheran as a pitching prospect, at least in my book. He was the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of a Texas high school. He is only 20 years old, and according to Baseball America, "Pieces are all there to be a future No. 1 or No. 2 starter". He had been struggling a bit at Double-A, but turned it around last start by taking a no-hitter into the 6th inning, giving up his first hit to super prospect Mike Trout. It was his 1st win since July 20th. Miller has a powerful fastball that consistently hits 94-96, which could become one of the top fastballs in the league. His curveball was below-average coming out of the draft, but worked all of last year on it's command, and it has developed into an above-average hammer. His change-up is only an average pitch, consistently at 82-85 with a decent release point. He runs into trouble when he can't locate that 12-6 curveball and when he hangs his change-up. At the young age of 20, he still has room to improve and if all goes right he could be comparable to a young Jason Schmidt. Go and pick him up in all keeper formats, and keep him on your radar for a June call-up next year.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Back to Buisness: Hold it Right There

I've been absent for a few weeks, but I'm back and ready for some fantasy baseball action. Today we are going to take a look at the middle inning relievers. In my opinion they have one of the most thankless jobs in baseball. It seems they only get noticed after a 4 ER outing, but no one bats an eye at the 20 scoreless innings they had thrown before that. Granted in most standard leagues, most of these guys are irrelevant because holds aren't a category. But in leagues with an innings cap, there are many options out of the pen that can rack up K's, lower peripherals, and even throw in a win or two. So right now let's take a look at the 5 most valuable hold guys in the fantasy game today, with honorable mentions after.

Stats are W-L, ERA/WHIP/K/9, Holds

1. Johnny Venters-[5-1, 1.24/0.96/9.64, 24] Now you're thinking," Wow those are incredible stats, I'm gonna go try and pry him for the guy in first place." Fear not gamers, despite his unreal stats, there are plenty of guys probably available in your league that are putting up 90% of those numbers. If you have ever seen Venters pitch, you know is one of the filthiest pitchers in the MLB, it's almost not fair to batters.

2. Tyler Clippard-[1-0, 1.58/0.86/10.91, 28] Clippard has two straight years of relief dominance, and this year is leading the league in holds. His 10.91 K/9 should also be a welcome addition to any team, innings cap or not.

3. Mike Adams-[3-2, 1.23/0.82/8.77, 24] Adams value was hurt slightly in his trade from spacious Petco to cozy Arlington. He does see a boost in value for holds because his team will be in more close games, so add about 2-3 holds more than he would have gotten with the Padres.

4. Daniel Bard-[1-5, 2.41/0.90/8.60, 25] Don't shy away from Bard because of the 5 losses, that's purely bad luck. He leads the American league with 25 holds, and I am frankly surprised he doesn't strike out more than a batter an inning with the elite fastball he has.

5. David Robertson-[3-0, 1.44/1.26/14.02, 23] The number that should catch your eye is his 14.02 K/9 (that is not a misprint folks). One other number that does catch my eye is his 1.26 WHIP, which is due to his walk rate (5.4 BB/9). That strikeout rate is just too sexy to pass up though.

Honorable Mention: Sean Marshall, Eric O'Flaherty, Jose Veras, Sergio Romo, Grant Balfour, Rafael Betancourt, Koji Uehara, Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pastano.

I would any one of these guys where you are approaching your innings limit and need to rack up stats. Also try to include holds as a category next year in your league. It makes many more players valuable and adds that much more strategy to your roster construction.