Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 31, 2011


After a pair of rough starts a month ago, Collmenter is back to pitching very effectively recently. Surprisingly available in the majority of fantasy leagues, the Diamondbacks hurler is a good play against a Rockies squad in which he has pitched very well against in 2011 (3.38 ERA). Collmenter has also been great at home (2.76 ERA) this season and with his team on a second half surge, he plays very well as a spot starter tonight.

Losers Keepers: Fantasy Baseball Players to Consider Dropping for 2012

With the fantasy baseball playoffs looming and the end of the 2011 baseball season in sight, as a fantasy owner you will no doubt be looking to make some roster decisions in regard to the players you will consider keeping and those which you will release. When deciding who qualifies as a fantasy baseball keeper for 2012 and who doesn’t, you might want to start thinking about potentially dropping some players that were previously considered to be no-brainer fantasy baseball keepers.
Perhaps because of age, injuries, a change in teams/leagues or just general ineffectiveness, there are a few players that you may consider throwing back instead of using up a fantasy baseball keeper spot. As recently as the beginning of the 2011 season, these names may have been sure fire keepers but for one reason or another, their stock has dropped. As a result, using a keeper spot on the following players represents a degree of risk:
We’ve seen players drop off significantly in the past (Dale Murphy, anyone?). However, Dunn has undergone a complete collapse of epic proportions. Entering the 2011 season as one of the games most consistent sluggers, you always knew what you were going to get from Dunn. In his first at bat for the White Sox, Dunn hit a 2-run homer. In his next at bat, he doubled in 2 more runs. It looked to be business as usual for Dunn. Then the 2011 season wore on and Dunn fell apart. He currently is sitting on 11 HR with an incredible .163 AVG. Sure, there’s the chance he figures things out in the offseason but why take the risk?
Carl Crawford (BOS)
Who wasn’t salivating at the possibility of Crawford hitting in the Red Sox line up while playing half of his games at Fenway Park? Crawford had produced at an outstanding rate with the Rays and all signs pointed to him reaching another level in Boston: hitting in a potent line up (possibly in the 3rd spot), banging doubles off the Green Monster and playing for a perennial contender. However, once the games started, Crawford disappointed fantasy owners and Red Sox fans alike. Until he starts to show the enticing power-speed combination which made him an elite fantasy outfielder, don’t bother.
Josh Johnson (FLA)
When Johnson pitches, he is outstanding. In 2010, he led the NL in ERA and HR rate. However, he missed all of September last season with back and shoulder problems and the injury bug struck again this year, only much earlier. Pitchers with such prominent shoulder issues early in their careers are not exactly the cornerstones you want to build your fantasy roster around. Don’t be tempted by Johnson’s talents, as he has managed only one 30-start season in his big league career. Let another fantasy owner deal with the frustration of losing him for large amounts of time in 2012, because it is very likely to happen.

Ubaldo Jimenez (CLE)
Wow, talk about a fall from grace. At the All-Star break last season, Jimenez was touted as a sure-fire Cy Young winner. Then he came back to earth (4.34 ERA, 1.30 WHIP in the second half of 2010). In 2011, his free fall has continued, only much more precipitously . A trade to the AL hasn’t helped, as he has been worse in Cleveland than he was at Coors Field. A drop in velocity and command are never good signs for a pitcher considered by many to be top-ten material entering 2011. Take a pass on using up a keeper spot on him.

Joe Mauer (MIN)
The AL MVP in 2009 and consensus #1 fantasy catcher entering 2011 has seen his stock plummet. Mauer’s injuries have frustrated fantasy owners all year but the issue is worse than a few nagging neck issues. Mauer’s 28 HR in 2009 are looking like a career anomaly as he has displayed a complete lack of power in other seasons. In addition, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been using him at first base, possibly in an effort to reduce the wear and tear which catching can have on a player. That makes Mauer a high average, low power first baseman. In other words, he’s Billy Butler who is not keeper material either.

Jose Reyes (NYM)
Even at a position as shallow as shortstop, Reyes is a risky keeper. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy since 2008, he’s not stealing at the same rate as he did from 2005 – 2007 and his power numbers are down. Don’t let that high average this season tempt you too much, as his BABIP in 2011 is 37 points higher than his career mark and is sure to regress to the mean in 2012. All signs point to continued regression and keeper spots are just too valuable to waste. Take a pass.

Heath Bell (SD)
There is always the debate about whether it is wise to use a keeper spot on a closer, but it actually makes a lot of sense if you have one that displays consistency from year to year. Of all closers not named Mariano Rivera, Bell was the mark of consistency out of the bullpen from 2009 – 2010. However, his future is up in the air as he has stated he would like to return to the Padres but may have to settle for a job as a set-up man for a bigger market club, greatly devaluing his fantasy worth. In addition, his K/9 rate has dropped off alarmingly, going from 11.06 last season all the way down to 6.79 in 2011. He may very well return to his previous levels but it simply isn’t worth the gamble.

Taking risks has always been an integral part of fantasy baseball. However, remember that risks are better saved for the later rounds in your draft, not to be used on your keeper spots. Choosing wisely when it comes to your keepers will help you create a solid foundation upon which to build your fantasy baseball team. You’ll thank yourself come draft day 2012.

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* Adam Dunn Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Adam Dunn") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Ubaldo Jimenez photo by jkonrath (IMG_1826) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Heath Bell photo by Djh57 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 30, 2011

Doug Fister (DET) vs. KC
Now 3-1 since coming to the Tigers on the strength of a 3.45 ERA and more run support than he received with the Mariners, Fister is a decent play against KC at home. He did struggle against KC in his last start against the Royals on April 14, where Wilson Betemit took him deep in a rain-shortened game, however he was given a second life the day he was traded to the Tigers. He has put up good strikeout rates his past 3 starts and has a much better chance to gain a “W” with the Tigers as compared to his chances when he pitched for the Mariners. Available in the majority of fantasy baseball leagues, Fister is a decent waiver wire option for a spot start.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball: Who's Running Hot & Cold - August 28, 2011

Where 3 up and 3 down is more than the end of an inning....

HOT

The light-hitting Dodgers first baseman always seems to leave fantasy owners wanting more. Over the past week however, Loney has been scorching at the plate going 15-for-26 (.577 AVG). He has also contributed 3 HR to go along with 7 RBI and 7 runs. He's alos available in the vast majority of leagues.

At one point, he had 4 multi-hit efforts in a row and has gone 14-for-24, good for a .583 AVG during the past seven days. Throw in the fact that in some leagues he is eligible at multiple infield positions and Seager is a hot one to be sure.

One of the streakiest players in the game, Reynolds is on another tear of late, hitting homers in 3 straight games, reaching 30 for the season. This is exactly the reason the Orioles picked him up in the off-season and the same holds true for his fantasy owners.



COLD

Jason Kubel (MIN)
Perhaps it was the personal family matters he was dealing with. More likely is the bizarre situation he found himself in with his being placed on waivers leaking to the media, followed by rumors he was moving to the White Sox or the Indians. Whatever the cause, Kubel has struggled mightily over the past week, going a mere 2-23 at the dish.

Geovany Soto
The Cubs' catcher has performed much better behind the plate than at it over the past 7 days, managing a measly single. He followed up that hit by going 6 straight games without another. Yikes.

Adam Dunn (CWS)
The end of the 2011 season can't come fast enough for Dunn, who did not register a hit over the past week. The good news? The White Sox only trotted him out there for 11 at bats.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 27, 2011

Luis Perez (TOR) vs. TB

The extreme groundballer looks to build on a solid outing against Oakland where he held the A’s to a lone Jemile Weeks single over 6 innings. It may not be quite as easy this time out but he matches up well against a lefty-heavy Rays line up. Opposing hurler Jeff Niemann has been hot in the second half but came to earth a bit against the Tigers last time out. I like Perez’ chances as a spot starter here.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Jeepers Keepers: Fantasy Baseball Players Worth Keeping for 2012

In any fantasy baseball keeper league, there are always the obvious choices in regard to which baseball players you will hold onto heading into next season. Everyone knows that players such as Albert Pujols, Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp are no-brainers when it comes to deciding which players to keep and which to throw back into the draft. However, there are always examples of no-brainer keeper players which turn out to be busts. Just ask fantasy owners of Adam Dunn, Joe Mauer, Alex Rios and Carl Crawford how things worked out for their sure-fire keepers in 2011.

As the 2011 season starts to wear down, it may be worth taking a look at some players and deciding if they are worth using a keeper spot on your roster for the 2012 season. Depending upon how deep or shallow your fantasy baseball league is, you may want to consider some players that are a little further down the food chain in regard to popularity. After all, when it comes to fantasy baseball, you should be caring about production, not a player’s ownership percentage in fantasy leagues. 

Here are a few players that you may want to consider as keepers for the 2012 baseball season as they may provide you with some decent production:

Melky Cabrera (KC)
Career year? Maybe not. After bouncing between leagues from the Yankees to the Braves, Cabrera’s career appeared as though was headed down the path of ‘journeyman’. However, he has really found a home in Kansas City and has thrived out of the number 2 spot in the Royals line up. Players that provide a mix of power and speed are particularly valuable in fantasy and at just 27 years old, the ‘Melk-man’ is entering his prime years of production.

Michael Bourn (ATL)
We’ve all heard that speed is not something you can count on from year to year but Bourn has been a model of consistency for several years now. With stolen bases seemingly difficult to come by every year for almost every fantasy owner, you may want to think about holding onto a speedster like Bourn. Stolen bases the past 4 seasons: 41, 61, 52, 47 (and counting). Stash him.

With players such as Jimmy Rollins, Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes seemingly unable to stay healthy, a shallow shortstop position suddenly gets a lot shallower. Throw in a fading Derek Jeter and an above-average shortstop like Cabrera becomes very, very valuable to your fantasy team. He’s young, talented and coming into his prime. Keeper alert!

Jonny Venters (ATL)
I know what you are thinking: a non-closer relief pitcher as a keeper? You better believe it. Last I checked, WHIP and ERA are fantasy categories and Venters is one of the best in both. Considering the massive turnover at the closer position from year to year (this is not to say Craig Kimbrel is in danger of losing the 9th inning role by any stretch), you could go a long way to solidifying your fantasy pitching roster with a guy like Venters. If holds are a stat in your league, you have to consider Venters even more strongly.

Cory Luebke (SD)
Every fantasy team needs to anchor their pitching staff with a key hurler or two, right? As a starter in 2011: 11 GS, 2.71 ERA, .935 WHIP, 9.4 K/9. He’s been a find for the Padres this season and should be for your fantasy team as well. He’s also been surprisingly consistent which is just what you are looking for in keeper material.

Mike Stanton (FLA)
The 2011 season may end up being known for two key things: great pitching numbers and a lack of power from the outfield position. That being said, if you have a young power hitting outfielder, you might want to think about using a keeper spot for him. After hitting 22 HR in only 100 GP in 2010, Stanton has followed up with 30 HR (and counting) in 2011. With strikeout totals of 123 and 138 (so far) over the past 2 seasons, Stanton needs to develop some plate discipline to go along with that power. If he does, look out.

John Axford (MIL)
Let’s face it, you’re going to need a closer next year and you’re going to need saves. Who better to fill that spot on your team than the closer who has quietly become one of the best in the game at his position. Mariano Rivera gets most of the respect, Brian Wilson gets most of the press and Craig Kimbrel puts up the eye-popping numbers. However, Axford closes for one of the best teams in baseball and with a K/9 rate topping 11 over the past 2 seasons, he delivers some key stats.

Ben Zobrist (TB)
One of Zobrist’s best features has always been his multiple position eligibility and 2011 is no different, with “Zorilla” qualifying at 2B and RF. Putting up a slash line of .282/.369/.489, Zobrist has delivered better numbers than most middle infielders. Although not prolific, he puts up decent totals in HR and SB and that is always a valuable asset to have on your team. You might not think you can afford to use a keeper spot on Zobrist, but with such a lack of talent at second base, and with the Rays’ player delivering a WAR of 6.1, can you afford not to?

Although these players may not be the first names that come to mind when thinking about fantasy baseball keepers for 2012, you may want to give it a second thought. With an eye toward 2012 production and value to your fantasy baseball squad, these players may be just the keepers you are looking for.

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* Melky Cabrera photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Jonny Venters photo by Elenathaear (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Ben Zobrist photo by User Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "001H0388") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 26, 2011

Randy Wolf (MIL) vs. CHC
Okay, he got shelled his last time out against the Mets (yikes!) at Citi Field (double yikes!!) but you shouldn’t put too much stock into that outing. Prior to the flushing in Flushing, Wolf won 4 straight starts and has surrendered only 2 ER in 13 IP to the Cubs this season, so there is hope entering this one. Worth a gamble.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 25, 2011

Phil Hughes (NYY) vs. OAK
Available in over half of most fantasy leagues, Hughes has allowed only 6 ER over his past 5 appearances (25 IP) for a 2.16 ERA during that span. With several hurlers attempting to pitch their way into a full-time spot in the Yankees rotation (and A.J. Burnett trying to pitch himself out of one), Hughes should stick. As for this matchup, Oakland has posted an anaemic offense in August and a trip to the Bronx shouldn’t change that trend.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Casper the Friendly Ghost: Fantasy Baseball Players Hidden on the Waiver Wire

With the trading deadline having already passed in most fantasy baseball leagues, as a fantasy owner, you are now forced to look to the waiver wire for any additions to your roster. Sure, there may be a few under-performing veterans available (Alex Rios, anyone?), but more than likely the only players that can add any value to your squad will be young rookies with a hunger to succeed or prove they belong on a big league roster.
Finding these types of players is not always easy. Sometimes, these players have a ghost-like quality which leaves them hidden on your league’s waiver wire. Have no fear! With a little investigation (and perhaps some chain rattling), we can root these players out of hiding and onto your fantasy baseball roster.

Casper Wells (SEA)
The namesake of this article’s title, Wells seemed to appear out of the fog that is the Mariner’s roster. After a trade which brought him (along with Charlie Furbush) from Detroit for Doug Fister, Wells has emerged as quite the find for the Mariners. After languishing as the 4th (even 5th) outfielder on the Tigers, Wells’ 6 HR since the All Star break are good for 2nd in the AL during that span. Let him emerge forth onto your roster as well.

Lucas Duda (NYM)
Duda’s power in the minor leagues appeared to put him into a position to battle for the right field spot on the Mets roster in 2012 (or at least the 4th OF spot). However, an injury to Ike Davis brought Duda out of hiding to take over at first base (and the cleanup spot in the batting order). The rest of the season will go a long way to solidify Duda’s role on the team for next season. With Carlos Beltran traded, Duda may have to spend some time in the instructional league in the offseason learning RF but in the meantime you should consider floating him into your line up.

John Mayberry, Jr. (PHI)
After spending 2 seasons in Triple-A, Mayberry profiled as the fourth outfielder for the Phillies in 2011. However, with injuries and poor performance from players such as Raul Ibanez and Domonoc Brown, Mayberry has had an opportunity to surprise everyone with his play. Chris Murray at the Chris Murray Report reports that manager Charlie Manuel has gone so far as to say Mayberry has earned a place in the line up even when Ibanez returns. “That’s how you win jobs”, Manuel said. “He’s a good-looking hitter”.

Kyle Blanks (SD)
After fading into the shadows after a less-than-stellar performance in 2010, Blanks has made the most of things recently with 6 HR, 18 RBI in 96 AB since the All Star break. As a part of a somewhat resurgent Padres offense recently, don’t let his performance in recent seasons allow you to see through his value right now.

Aaron Miles (LAD)
Miles has scared up over 350 AB this season. He has delivered a decent average and has even gone on a modest power surge recently causing manager Don Mattingly to use him in the number 3 spot in the Dodgers batting order. With eligibility at both second and third base, Miles could give a little spirit to your fantasy roster.

If your fantasy opponents need a good scare, consider pulling one of these apparitions off the waiver wire. Without a shadow of a doubt, you might just find yourself in the playoff ‘haunt’. 

Pun intended.

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* Casper Wells photo by Cbl62 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 
* Kyle Blanks photo by Djh57 (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 24, 2011

Tim Stauffer (SD) -


Sure he's pitching against Tim Lincecum but the Giants offense has been anemic for some time and Stauffer bounced back from a pair of ugly starts earlier in the month. Pulling out a "W" may be tough against a foe like Lincecum but a quality start is all you need when looking for a spot starter.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 23, 2011

Marco Estrada (MIL) at PIT

Estrada tossed 5 shutout innings against the Pirates on August 13th. Don't expect a lot of innings but if he can stick around for 5 again, he'll deliver some Ks and hopefully a quality start as well.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball: Who's Running Hot & Cold - August 21, 2011

HOT

Peter Bourjos (LAA)
Even though he continues to bounce around the Angels’ batting order, Bourjos has caught fire as of late. In the past week, he has scorched along at a 14-for-28 (.483) clip and added 7 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI and 2 SB into the mix for an all-around fantasy effort.

Mitch Moreland (TEX)
After homering just once in a span of 26 games, Moreland connected for 3 HR in 3 games this past week. With eligibility at 1B and OF, he may be worth a look if he is available in your fantasy league.

Angel Pagan (NYM)
He’s been hot ever since taking over the leadoff spot from the injured Jose Reyes on August 9th and this past week was no exception. Pagan has swiped 3 bases while going 13-for-28 (.464 AVG) during that time. With Reyes likely out for the season, Pagan could be a nice fantasy choice down the stretch.




COLD

Yunel Escobar (TOR)
Although he has put together a very nice season for himself as the Blue Jays unlikely leadoff hitter, Escobar has struggled recently. He has hit only .069 (2-for-29) over the past 7 days and manager John Farrell gave him the day off on August 21 to collect himself. Let’s hope it works.

Andre Ethier (LAD)
Luckily, Ethier padded his starts with an early season 30-game hitting streak as he has gone cold recently. Battling through a toe injury, Ethier has managed a mere 2-for-his-last-20 for a .100 average the past 7 days.

Vernon Wells (LAA)
The poor production continues from the overpaid Angels outfielder. Wells has managed just 2 hits spanning 20 at bats in the past week to maintain an offensively-challenged August. This month, Wells has himself a .145 AVG with 1 HR and 5 RBI. There is a word for this type of season: ugly.

Versatile & Error: Good & Bad Utility Players for the Fantasy Baseball Playoffs

For many fantasy baseball leagues, the month of September is considered the ‘playoffs’ (the viability of this can be addressed in a separate article). As you head into the playoffs, one issue to contend with is the fact that many major league teams will be looking to give their veterans some rest as well as calling up some young prospects from the farm team. More often than not, when these veterans are given a day off, your fantasy team is left with a hole in the line up. One tactic for combating this issue is to add a player or two to your roster to give you some versatility. If you add a player with multiple position eligibility for example, you will be better prepared to plug the holes in your line up as they arise. Since many of the players with multiple position eligibility are utility players, they can often be obtained ‘on the cheap’. Tread with caution however, as there are also certain utility players that may in fact see less playing time down the stretch. Some players worth discussing include (Note: position eligibility may vary according to your league rules and regulations):

Adam Kennedy (SEA) – (1B, 2B, 3B)
At first glance, Kennedy looks like a player you may want to roster for your stretch drive. You may want to think again, however. Although he does have multiple position eligibility around the infield which looks enticing enough, Seattle is a team far out of contention and will undoubtedly be looking to use playing time for the evaluation of their young talent. Kennedy will most likely be on the outside looking in.

Lucas Duda (NYM) – (1B, RF, LF)
With Ike Davis out with injury, Duda is the everyday first baseman for the Mets and as a young player, will be given every opportunity to prove his worth the rest of the way. It also doesn’t hurt that he hits out of the cleanup spot. Sure, the Mets are no offensive power house, but hitting 4th on any major league club has its advantages to be sure.

Jamey Carroll (LAD) – (2B, 3B, SS, LF)
Although he offers no power (0 HR in 2011), Carroll will bring a little bit of speed to your fantasy roster (10 SB). He has hit consistently in both halves of the season and is equally effective against either RHP or LHP. If you are looking for big numbers in any category, you can look elsewhere. However, if a serviceable fill-in player is what you need, Carroll’s your man.

Ty Wigginton (COL) - (1B, 2B, 3B, LF)
 Long sought after for his multiple position eligibility, moving to Coors Field only increased interest Wigginton. However, his value has declined markedly in 2011. Sure, he has clubbed 14 HR but only 1 has come since the All Star break (to go along with 7 RBI, 2 SB and a .253 AVG in that span).  Unlike past seasons, don’t go hard after Ty as he simply will not deliver help to your fantasy team down the stretch.

Michael Cuddyer (MIN) – (1B, 2B, 3B, RF)
Out since August 10th with a neck injury, Cuddyer is due back any day now and could be a good pickup for your playoff run. In addition, because of the injury, he may be available on the cheap as well. 

Garrett Jones (PIT) – (1B, RF)
Although not a superstar, Jones has 20 HR power and a touch of speed. He has hit out of both the number 2 spot as well as 6th in the Pirates batting order and has brought a little something to both. He has been particularly effective in August hitting .313 with 4 HR and 2 SB.

Landing a key player with multiple position eligibility for your playoff stretch drive may be just the boost you need, especially once the ultra-competitive playoff fantasy baseball games of September begin.

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* Adam Kennedy photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Ty Wigginton photo by User Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "00076775") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 20, 2011

Wade Miley (ARI)

An injury to Jason Marquis has opened the door for Miley to get the call from Triple-A to fill the void left in the Diamondbacks rotation. The lefty has pitched well in the minors this year and will be facing a Braves squad that has struggled to hit for average (.247) but not power (138 HR) against LHP this season. Since the Braves (or any other team for that matter) have yet to get a look at Miley, he could make for an interesting spot starter.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Blue Chips: Buy Low Fantasy Baseball Players Going Up in Value

In fantasy baseball, everyone is looking for the latest and greatest ‘buy low’ baseball player who will help put their team over the edge. This type of gambling is an integral part of fantasy baseball (along with the odd friendly wager, of course) and can often be the difference at this time of the year.
In fact, as you gear up for the playoffs (often the month of September for many fantasy baseball leagues), there are a few players to consider gambling on as a potential ‘buy low’ fantasy baseball player that may be going up in value.


Jason Kipnis (CLE)
Kipnis wasn’t supposed to arrive in Cleveland until 2012 but a resurgent Tribe (complete with an unlikely playoff push) required Kipnis to come up to the big league team to help. And help he did. He spent his first 18 games in the majors hitting .279/.347/.603 with 6 HR and 22 RBI, eye-popping numbers for a middle infielder. He plays the game with a gusto that manager Manny Acta likes, so expect him to quickly recover from his strained oblique and get back in the line up soon.


Frank Francisco (TOR)
Francisco has bounced in and out of the closer’s role in Toronto all season long. A recent emergency appendectomy for incumbent Jon Rauch has opened the door for Francisco once again. His season ERA sits at 4.17 but he has pitched very well since losing the job to Rauch. He should hold the role for at least a month and if he pitches well, even longer.


Bobby Parnell (NYM)
Now that Jason Isringhausen got his 300th save, when the Mets enter the 9th inning with a lead (as rare as that may be) belongs to Parnell. This is his audition for the closer’s role in 2012. If he can harness the command of his fastball and slider, he’s in.


Javy Guerra (LAD)
Guerra is settling in nicely as the Dodgers closer having given up only 3 hits over his last 10 outings. He has also posted 6 saves in that stretch as well. There is little stopping him from winding up the season collecting the majority of saves in Los Angeles.


Lucas Duda (NYM)
Duda will play first base with Ike Davis out for the season but he also qualifies at RF in several fantasy leagues giving him some added value to your roster. On first look, his split stats are a little alarming (.333 at home, .243 on the road), but he has hit 4 of his 5 HR away from Citi Field. He is also hitting in the middle of the order out of the cleanup spot behind David Wright.


Delmon Young (DET)
Sure, he was brutal with the Twins this year but a change of scenery often makes a world of difference. Getting the chance to hit in the heart of the Tigers line up may be just what the doctor ordered for Young. Don’t forget, this is a player who hit 21 HR with 112 RBI in 2010 and is only 25 years old.


Mike Carp (SEA)
Currently riding a 16-game hitting streak, Carp is fitting in nicely in the major leagues. He has also hit in 22 of his 24 games since being recalled from the minors. While he was at Triple-A, he was also hitting very well, so this is nothing new. His 17 RBI in August is tied for the AL lead in that category. He is playing for a major league job in 2012 so ride the wave while he is raking right now.


Keep an eye on these potential blue chip bargains. You better act soon, however, as their fantasy stock is quickly on the rise.


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* Frank Francisco photo by Keith Allison (Flickr: Frank Francisco) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 
* Mike Carp photo by User zappowbang on Flickr (Original version) User UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 16, 2011


This is an intriguing option as Delgado gets a start in place of the ailing Tommy Hanson in the Braves rotation. Delgado has posted some nifty minor league numbers this year and the Giants attack (less Carlos Beltran) has been anything but scary. There's a little something here for deeper leagues.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball: Who's Running Hot & Cold - August 14, 2011

HOT

J.J. Hardy (BAL)
The Baltimore shortstop has been able to avoid major injury this season and has been riding some serious hot streaks. He has gone 10-for-26 with 6 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI over the past week. His 23 HR in 2011 leave him just 3 shy of his career high from 2007.

Jose Constanza (ATL)
The upstart rookie continues to rob former phenom Jason Heyward of playing time in the Braves outfield equation. Constanza is on a tear recently with 7 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI and 3 SB over the past 7 days.

Melky Cabrera (KC)
It only seems like Cabrera has been in the major leagues forever. However, he is only 27 years old and has really settled into the Royals’ starting line up. He has already set career highs in HR and SB and with 3 more RBI, he will match his career high from 2007. He has also been on a torrid streak as of late hitting a scorching .500 (12-for-24).


COLD

Denard Span (MIN)
Since returning after 2 months on the shelf from a concussion, Span is considering shutting it down for the rest of the season. He has been particularly futile offensively with a scant single over his last 19 at-bats.

Howie Kendrick (LAA)
After an incredible first half of 2011, Kendrick has struggled recently at the plate. Yet to collect an RBI in August, he has hit a mere 2-for-20 with 1 R over the past 7 days.

B.J. Upton (TB)
Unlike his brother, Justin, the long drought continues for the elder Upton in Tampa Bay. Sure to lose some playing time at some point if his offensive woes continue, B.J.’s bat is running cold at .136 (3-for-22) over the past week.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Middle Ages: Young Rookie 'Heroes' to Consider for the Middle Infield Spots in Fantasy Baseball

There was a time when fantasy baseball success in your middle infield spots meant using veteran players. That rule certainly does not hold true in the 2011 season. Remember the days when an established player was an asset at second base or shortstop? It wasn’t long ago when having Derek Jeter, Chase Utley or Miguel Tejada meant fantasy success up the middle of your infield.

Coming into the 2010 season, the middle infield spots looked to be shallow at best. However, with a series of injuries to key players such as Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Rickie Weeks and Brian Roberts, the shortstop and second base positions have gotten a lot thinner as the 2011 season has wore on. This has opened the door to a series of young players to make their mark in the major leagues. As it stands now, rather than turning to veterans you need to seriously consider some of these rookies for fantasy baseball success in the middle infield spots on your fantasy roster:

Dustin Ackley (SEA)
Chone Figgins was moved to third base to start the season but Ackley didn’t get the job at second base out of spring training. However, after Jack Wilson and Adam Kennedy failed to capitalize on their opportunities, Ackley got the call on June 17th. He proceeded to hit a home run in his second game in a big league uniform and hasn’t looked back since, posting a .293 AVG with 5 HR and 23 RBI in his first 45 games in the bigs. Although he wasn’t expected to make the Mariners until 2012, Ackley is here and is here to stay.

Dee Gordon (LAD)
After bouncing between the Dodgers and Triple-A, Gordon found himself recalled after the Rafael Furcal trade opened the door for him at shortstop. Currently on the 15-day DL with a shoulder contusion, Gordon should be a good source of stolen bases in September for your fantasy playoffs.

Jason Kipnis (CLE)
The idea was to leave Kipnis in Triple-A until 2012. After all, why rush a top prospect to the big leagues and waste a year of service time when the big club had no hope of contending, right? Funny thing, the Indians found themselves a contender in the AL Central and decided to bring Kipnis up. The trade of Orlando Cabrera opened up playing time and Kipnis took off. In 18 GP, he has hit 6 HR with 11 RBI and 2 SB to go with a slash line of .284/.351/.612. Red-hot in August, Kipnis is worth a shot for sure.

Jose Altuve (HOU)
If the Astros were looking for a boost to their line up, they certainly received one in the diminutive Altuve. Generously listed as 5’7”, and brought up from Double-A where he was tearing up the minors, the 21-year-old second baseman was probably rushed to the big leagues. Don’t let that stop you from riding a hot average of .346 while it lasts. He may prove to be over-matched at the major league level (especially when it comes to hitting for power) but he provides an intriguing option at a shallow position.

After a nice showing in Triple-A (in a good hitters league), the 24-year old shortstop was promoted and hit a home run off Detroit’s Max Scherzer in his 3rd big league game. A potentially potent hitter at a very weak position may not be enough to earn Giavotella the type of playing time to make him a valuable fantasy player. The reason? His lack of range defensively will, if nothing else,cost him playing time late in games as he is pulled for more the defensively skilled Chris Getz. Be cautiously optimistic.

Jemile Weeks (OAK)
If you need a nice boost in the speed department, Weeks may just be an option. Do not expect power from the Oakland second bagger and be aware that he has hit .250 against LHP this season (57 points lower than his mark against RHP). 

Some of these young players might just be the ‘heroes’ your fantasy baseball team needs up the middle. And who knows? Before long, they may end up being as well-known as their veteran counterparts.

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* Dee Gordon photo by bridgetds on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Jemile Weeks photo by Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Jemile Weeks") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 11, 2011

Mark Buehrle (CWS) at BAL

Buehrle has not given up more than 3 ER in a start since April 22nd, a span of 17 starts. In that stretch, his shortest outing was 5.1 innings, marking 16 quality starts in those 17 outings. Sure, he may not strike out many, but if you are looking for a good bet on a spot starter, Buehrle  is a safe gamble.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pitcher - August 10, 2011


Ivan Nova (NYY) vs. LAA -

Nova has really heated up after a mediocre season so far in 2011. He has given up only 4 ER over his last 3 starts while striking out 19 against only 3 walks. The only red flag is his performance at home this season. Don't expect another 10 K game, but he should help as a spot starter.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Cool WHIP: Fantasy Baseball Pitchers to Help Your Team’s WHIP

As we enter the final 2 months of the 2011 baseball season, fantasy baseball owners will no doubt be taking a closer look at their teams in trying to identify shortcomings and solidify themselves in certain categories. In looking at your pitching roster, you may be one of the many fantasy owners who could use a boost in the WHIP category (who couldn’t?). If your team is running behind in this category or consistently losing thins category (in head-to-head leagues), it’s worth considering a few pitchers who can offer some help in controlling your WHIP ratio.

Cory Luebke (SD)
For some reason, Luebke is available in the majority of fantasy baseball leagues. Perhaps it is due to the fact that he pitches for a poor Padres team (and doesn’t deliver high win totals) but the fact of the matter is that Luebke will go a long way toward helping your team’s WHIP (0.96 so far in 2011). Consider also the fact that he is striking out more than a batter per inning (9.3 K/9 after putting up a mark of 9.2 K/9 in 2010) and the bottom line is that if Luebke is available in your league, go get him.

Josh Tomlin (CLE)
Don’t let the 4+ ERA or low strikeout rate (4.8 K/9) dissuade you. Tomlin is delivering in the WHIP category and that is what matters here. His .249 BABIP is certain to normalize but that may not occur until next season. In the meantime, ride the BABIP train to a lower WHIP for your fantasy team.

Doug Fister (DET) –
Fister’s low WHIP in 2011 (1.17 between SEA and DET) is not a result of a low BABIP like Tomlin. Instead, Fister has been able to keep his WHIP ratio down due to a low hit rate (8.6 h/9, down from 9.8 H/9 in 2010). The move from the Mariners to the Tigers will only help his ability to put up wins as well.

Blake Beavan (SEA)
Beavan has made an impact in the majors right away with 6 straight quality starts. He has delivered a low WHIP due mainly to the fact that he has surrendered so few walks (1.3 BB/9). With Fister moved to Detroit and Michael Pineda facing a potential innings cap, Beavan is a nice source of help for your WHIP into the stretch drive.

Jeff Karstens (PIT)
Despite getting shelled recently by San Diego (of all teams), Karstens remains a good source of help for your WHIP category. He hasn’t walked many in 2011 (1.7 BB/9). The only red flag is a BABIP of .258 in 2011 which is 53 points lower than his mark of last year. Much like with Tomlin, you can ride out the BABIP while it lasts and enjoy the benefit to your WHIP.

Much like Beavan and Karstens, McCarthy’s low WHIP in 2011 is due directly to his reluctance to walk batters. By throwing strikes and taking advantage of the defense behind him, McCarthy has been able to provide a decent WHIP ratio. His BABIP is a little high (.310) for such a low WHIP (1.17) but it is his extremely low walk rate of 1.3 BB/9 which has led to his success. As long as he continues to limit the walks, he will continue to deliver the WHIP.

If you need some help in cracking the WHIP for your fantasy baseball team, consider some of these pitchers as they may just help you achieve lower ratio which in turn may help your push to the playoffs. Good luck!

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* Josh Tomlin photo by Keith Allison on Flickr [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
* Jeff Karstens photo by dbking on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons