2014 Fantasy Baseball Daily Fix: April 14

Draft_Street_Feat_Image_600_320

Welcome to Week 3. We’ll kick off this week of the baseball season with another edition of The Daily Fix. We’re playing at DraftStreet, and if you want to sign up and get a 100 percent deposit bonus on up to a $200 deposit use this link.

Today I’ll give you good value plays at each position to help you make your lineup decisions easier.

[Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Week 3 Pitching Preview

Two-start pitcher rankings

Must-starts

Photo credit: Scott Ableman

Photo credit: Scott Ableman

Stephen Strasburg Tue at MIA Sun vs. STL
Cliff Lee Tue vs. ATL Sun at COL
Masahiro Tanaka Tue vs. CHC Sun at TB
Gerrit Cole Tue at CIN Sun vs. MIL
Homer Bailey Mon vs. PIT Sun at CHC
Anibal Sanchez Tue vs. CLE Sun vs. LAA
Chris Archer Mon at BAL Sat vs. NYY

Baltimore ranks last in home wOBA and the Yankees rank 15th in away wOBA on the young season. Archer makes for a very good start this week.

[Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball Daily Fix: Monday, April 7

lyles zimbio

Source: Marc Serota/Getty Images North America

Welcome to Monday’s Daily Fix. I’ll be giving you some good value plays to play in Daily Fantasy Baseball over at DraftStreet. When you sign up to play at DraftStreet use this link to get a 100 percent deposit bonus.

Starting Pitchers

C.J. Wilson – $20,258 – Wilson’s the priciest starter today, but he has a great matchup against Houston, which has a .287 team OBP and has the third worst strikeout rate.

Hiroki Kuroda – $14,554 – The Orioles rarely walk and have the third worst team wOBA so far this season.

Jordan Lyles – $6,434 – The White Sox are hitting the ball well so far and pitching in Coors is always a risk. But Lyles’ low cost is too much to pass up, especially in your third pitcher spot. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Week 2 Pitching Preview

michaelwacha(2)

Photo Credit: Eric Fischer

Two-start pitchers

Must-starts

C.J. Wilson Mon at HOU Sun vs. NYM
Gio Gonzalez Tue vs. MIA Sun at ATL
Hiroki Kuroda Mon vs. BAL Sat vs. BOS
John Lackey Mon vs. TEX Sat at NYY
Michael Wacha Mon vs. CIN Sun vs. CHC
Scott Kazmir Mon at MIN Sun at SEA
Tim Hudson Sat vs. ARI Sun vs. COL
Tony Cingrani Mon at STL Sat vs. TB
Homer Bailey Tue at STL Sun vs. TB

Second-tier options

Bartolo Colon Tue at ATL Sun at LAA
Corey Kluber Mon vs. SD Sat at CWS
Ivan Nova Tue vs. BAL Sun vs. BOS
James Paxton Tue vs. LAA Sun vs. OAK
Matt Moore Mon at KC Sun at CIN
Ubaldo Jimenez Mon at NYY Sun vs. TOR

Paxton is owned in just 26 percent of ESPN leagues after limiting the Angels to two hits in seven innings with nine strikeouts in his first 2014 start. The lefty threw four different pitches, with a fastball that averaged over 95 mph. He got multiple whiffs on each pitch with his out-pitch curveball racking up seven whiffs. Kluber had a rough start to the season, but he should rebound fine.

Deep-league options

Dan Haren Tue vs. DET Sun at ARI
Felix Doubront Tue vs. TEX Sun at NYY
Charlie Morton Tue at CHC Sun at MIL
Jason Vargas Mon vs. TB Sun at MIN
Kyle Kendrick Mon vs. MIL Sat vs. MIA
Kyle Lohse Mon at PHI Sun vs. PIT

Morton could be a good play this week. Both Chicago and Milwaukee ranked in the bottom-third in ISO and wOBA, and Morton gets ground balls like they’re going out of style. In weekly leagues both Kendrick and Lohse could be good ways to round out your rotation. Vargas’s matchup at Minnesota is definitely pitcher-friendly.

Keep ‘em benched

Mark Buehrle Tue vs. HOU Sun at BAL
Brett Oberholtzer Tue at TOR Sun at TEX
Henderson Alvarez Tue at WSH Sun at PHI
Edwin Jackson Tue vs. PIT Sun at STL
Felipe Paulino Mon at COL Sat vs. CLE
Aaron Harang Tue vs. NYM Sun vs. WSH
Trevor Cahill Tue at SF Sun vs. LAD
Jarred Cosart Mon vs. LAA Sat at TEX
Zach McAllister Tue at SD Sun at CWS
Jordan Lyles Mon vs. CWS Sun at SF
Jose Quintana Tue at COL Sun vs. CLE
Kevin Correia Mon vs. OAK Sun vs. KC

A lot of these guys offer very little upside even with a few attractive opponents. If you’re brave enough to go with someone in this category Harang’s start against the Mets, who have the worst strikeout rate of any team, is one place to start. You could also go with McAllister against the Padres, who rank 29th in ISO and last in wOBA.

Week Two Starting Pitcher Rankings

  1. Yu Darvish – Sun vs. HOU
  2. Jose Fernandez – Fri at PHI
  3. Felix Hernandez – Fri vs. OAK
  4. Adam Wainwright – Sat vs. CHC
  5. Max Scherzer – Tue at LAD
  6. David Price – Fri at CIN
  7. Michael Wacha – Mon vs. CIN, Sun vs. CHC
  8. Scott Kazmir – Mon at MIN, Sun at SEA
  9. Tony Cingrani – Mon at STL, Sat vs. TB
  10. Madison Bumgarner – Fri vs. COL
  11. Chris Sale – Fri vs. CLE
  12. Gio Gonzalez – Tue vs. MIA, Sun at ATL
  13. C.J. Wilson – Mon at HOU, Sun vs. NYM
  14. Homer Bailey – Tue at STL, Sun vs. TB
  15. Justin Verlander – Sun at SD
  16. Stephen Stasburg – Friday at ATL
  17. Anibal Sanchez – Fri at SD
  18. James Shields – Sat at MIN
  19. Cliff Lee – Thu vs. MIL
  20. Sonny Gray – Sat at SEA
  21. Tim Hudson – Tue vs. ARI, Sun vs. COL
  22. John Lackey – Mon vs. TEX, Sat at NYY
  23. Francisco Liriano – Fri at MIL
  24. Gerrit Cole – Thu at CHC
  25. Julio Teheran – Fri vs. WSH
  26. Jordan Zimmermann – Thu vs. MIA
  27. Matt Cain – Sat vs. COL
  28. Hiroki Kuroda – Mon vs. BAL, Sat vs. BOS
  29. Matt Moore – Mon at KC, Sun at CIN
  30. Andrew Cashner – Fri vs. DET
  31. Zack Greinke – Sat at ARI
  32. Danny Salazar – Wed vs. SD
  33. Jeff Samardzija – Fri at STL
  34. Zack Wheeler – Wed at ATL
  35. Alex Cobb  РSat vs. CIN
  36. Bartolo Colon – Tue at ATL, Sun at LAA
  37. Matt Garza – Wed at PHI
  38. Masahiro Tanaka – Wed vs. BAL
  39. Chris Archer – Tue at KC
  40. Johnny Cueto – Fri vs. TB
  41. Jon Niese – Sat at LAA
  42. Corey Kluber – Mon vs. SD, Sat at CWS
  43. Ubaldo Jimenez – Mon at NYY, Sun vs. TOR
  44. James Paxton – Tue vs. LAA, Sun vs. OAK
  45. Ivan Nova – Tue vs. BAL, Sun vs. BOS
  46. Alex Wood – Sat vs. WSH
  47. Jake Peavy – Wed vs. TEX
  48. Yovani Gallardo – Sat vs. PIT
  49. Justin Masterson – Fri at CWS
  50. Ervin Santana – Wed vs. NYM
  51. Shelby Miller – Wed vs. CIN
  52. Lance Lynn – Tue vs. CIN
  53. Rick Porcello – Sat at SD
  54. Jesse Chavez – Wed at MIN
  55. Jered Weaver – Sat vs. NYM
  56. Tyson Ross – Tue at CLE
  57. Hyun-jin Ryu – Wed vs. DET
  58. R.A. Dickey – Fri at BAL
  59. Hector Santiago – Tue at SEA
  60. Marco Estrada – Thu at PHI
  61. Drew Smyly – Wed at LAD

Feel free to skip: A.J. Burnett Fri vs. MIA, CC Sabathia Fri vs. BOS, Tim Lincecum Wed vs. ARI

 Week Two Streaming Options

*Players available in at least 50 percent of ESPN leagues braves mets padres cubs twins

David Hale – Thu vs. NYM – Hale got multiple whiffs on three different pitches in his first start of the season, and the Mets have the worst strikeout rate in the league.

Brandon Morrow – Wed vs. HOU – Houston ranks 28th in strikeout rate, and Morrow averaged 94 mph on his fastball in his first start, which is right in line with his career velocity. He also induced a ton of ground balls.

Corey Kluber – Mon vs. SD – The Padres rank dead last in wOBA, and Kluber, who gives up a fair amount of fly balls, shouldn’t be hurt from pitching in Petco.

Tyler Skaggs – Friday vs. NYM – Again we’re picking on the Mets. Skaggs dominated in his first start, going eight scoreless Saturday against Houston while striking out five and walking one. More importantly, Skaggs looked very good, mixing his pitches well and introducing a two-seam fastball that was hard to hit, and when it was hit was hit on the ground.

Michael Pineda – Thu vs. BOS – The matchup might be a little scary, but Pineda looked pretty good Saturday against Toronto in his first MLB start since 2011. His slider velocity and whiff rates on his four-seamer and slider – his two most-used pitches Saturday – resembled his 2011 numbers, albeit in a small sample. Pineda’s owned in just 26 percent of ESPN leagues, but that number should skyrocket soon.

Nathan Eovaldi – Sat at PHI – Eovaldi has pitched extremely well in his first two starts, striking out 14 and walking just one batter in 13 innings. He’s inducing ground balls at a good rate, too. The Phillies rank well in runs scored, but it’s in only five games. They have six batters who have struck out at least once a game.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Daily Fix: March 31

The 2014 Major League Baseball season brings new life to all 30 teams, and it also brings a new fantasy sports partnership between The Fantasy Fix and DraftStreet.

DraftStreet offers so many daily sports games, and what better time to start playing at DraftStreet than on Opening Day? To begin, if you don’t yet have an account at DraftStreet use this link and by doing so you’ll get a 100 percent deposit bonus up to a $200 deposit.

Now after you sign up you’ll have plenty of games to choose from to play. You can take part in an Opening Day freeroll for today’s games. It costs absolutely nothing to play, but there’s a $500 prize pool with the top 50 places getting paid out. If you’re an experienced player and want to play in a higher-stakes game, you can play in an Opening Day cash game that’s $11 to enter but has a $20,000 prize pool where first place wins $3,000 and the top 300 places earn winnings. These games are of the salary cap style. For example, on the freeroll above there are 12 roster spots with a $100,000 salary cap. So you can pick 12 players at close to even values, or you can pick five studs and seven lower-cost players. It’s your choice, and that’s what makes Daily Fantasy Sports at DraftStreet exciting.

If you’re not familiar with The Daily Fix, we’ll bring you daily fantasy sports advice each day early in the morning. We’ll provide you with opportunities at DraftStreet as well as roster advice for whom to select each day to plug into your roster. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Week 1 Pitching Preview

This year’s pitching preview will give you more information to dominate your opponents. I’ll give you a general overview of whom to start and sit in mixed leagues, which will include a list of two-start pitchers; rankings of one-start pitchers; streamable starters owned in under 50 percent of ESPN leagues; as well as starters you should either pick up and hold on to or drop.

The pitching preview will be published over the weekend with updates throughout the weekend and as many Mondays as possible to be as current as can be before rosters lock on Mondays for those of you in weekly leagues. As always, feel free to comment here or contact me on Twitter @44AMiller.

[Read more...]

45 Prospects in 45 Days: Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor

Profile

Shortstop Francisco Lindor is Cleveland’s top prospect, a 20-year-old 2011 first-round pick out of Montverde, Florida. Later that summer Lindor saw his first taste of professional ball as a 17-year-old in the Low-A New York-Penn League, and was immediately tested in his first full season in 2012 in the Class A Midwest League. In 2013, at just 19 years of age, Lindor played 21 games in Double A and walked (14) twice as much as he struck out (7). This quick ascent across three levels speaks to Lindor’s maturity and approach, two characteristics scouts rave about that should help him reach the Majors very soon.

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

 

Pundits

Lindor places in the top 10 of all prospects ranked at MLB.com (10th), Baseball Prospectus (6th) and ESPN (6th). All three sources rave about Lindor’s makeup, with BP’s Jason Parks stating:

What makes Lindor special is the ease with which he plays baseball, as he shows an intrinsic feel for all aspects of the game, which could allow his already highly projected tools to play beyond their assumed limitations.

By “assumed limitations” I believe Parks is referring to Lindor’s lack of power or future plus hit tool. Basically, he doesn’t have Javier Baez’s potential at the plate. But Parks says Lindor is likely to reach Cleveland this year and “be a fixture at the major-league level for the next 15 years.”

While Lindor’s offense doesn’t matchup with his defense, he’s a switch hitter with an advanced approach at the plate, which will help against tougher pitchers. Keith Law says Lindor is ready for the Majors now:

Lindor is a plus runner and switch-hitter with a good swing on both sides of the plate; his right-handed swing is a little better, as he keeps his weight back longer, but his platoon splits flipped this year from 2012 and I think he’ll produce against all types of pitching. His feel for the game has always been his greatest strength — he has instincts and game awareness, and when you combine that with soft hands and a plus arm, you get a Gold Glove-type of defender at a critical position.

Lindor doesn’t look like a power hitter but has exceptional lower-half strength and his swing will allow him to eventually get to that power even though he doesn’t finish with a ton of loft. Even at 12-15 homers, which is probably a neutral projection for him, he’ll be an All-Star thanks to grade-70 defense and OBPs up near .400 with plenty of doubles and 20-plus steals a year.

Production

Year Level Age PA Iso K% BB% SB AVG OBP SLG
2012 A 18 567 0.098 13.8 10.8 28 0.257 0.352 0.355
2013 A+ 19 372 0.104 10.5 9.4 20 0.306 0.373 0.41
2013 AA 19 91 0.106 7.7 15.4 5 0.289 0.407 0.395

I didn’t include Lindor’s 2011 since it was only 20 plate appearances. Lindor’s six homers in 2012 are his most at any stop, but he hit for more doubles and triples at his next two stops. He might top out at 15 home runs farther down the line, but he should consistently be able to put up good amounts of doubles and triples. His walk and strikeout rates are just marvelous, especially considering his age and (lack of) professional experience.

Projections

System PA HR SB BB% K% OBP SLG
Oliver 600 4 20 7.3 15.8 0.319 0.349
ZiPS 539 4 18 7.2 16.5 0.307 0.329

Only two projection systems are out that project Lindor with a full or close to season’s worth of plate appearances. They don’t project him to do too much in 2014 except excel on the basepaths. I think he’d be able to surpass the 7 percent walk rates and his OBP numbers listed here, though.

Prediction

Lindor’s currently blocked at shortstop in Cleveland, and seeing that the Indians plan on contending this year it might be far-fetched to think he’ll be up this year. But Asdrubal Cabrera is scheduled to be a free agent after this season, so it looks like Lindor could have the shortstop keys handed to him in a year.

If that’s the case I wouldn’t expect Lindor to be mixed-league relevant yet, at least in roto leagues and 10- or 12-teamers. In deeper mixed head-to-head leagues he could be more valuable then. I see Lindor as similar to Elvis Andrus. Lindor’s shown more pop (.098 Iso compared to Andrus’s .086 in the minors) and better walk and strikeout rates, while Andrus was a bit more active stealing bases. Andrus went .267/.329/.373 for an 82 OPS+ and 33-of-39 on the bases as a 20-year-old rookie. In Lindor’s first full season or extended taste of the Majors I think he’d have similar numbers except with about a .350 OBP and fewer steals.

45 Prospects in 45 Days: Chicago’s Kris Bryant

Profile

The Chicago Cubs picked up arguably the best hitter in the 2013 MLB Draft when they selected University of San Diego product Kris Bryant second overall. The 6’5″, 215-pound righty plays a solid third base but is seen by many to be headed to the outfield, with his powerful arm and strong athleticism. Bryant’s power is his calling card; he lead the NCAA in home runs last year with 31, 10 ahead of second place. Bryant was honored with the 2013 Golden Spikes award, given to college baseball’s top player.

[Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Mock Draft Review

desmond land

Sunday night I had the opportunity to take part in an expert mock draft held by Nick Raducanu of FantasyTrade411 for his upcoming Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide. The draft was a 12-teamer, which consisted of analysts from sites like Rotoworld, Fangraphs and Fake Teams, as well as several others. Below I’ll detail my draft as well as hit on a few of my selections I really liked. So this post will double as a mock review/players you should target piece. To see the full mock draft, purchase Nick’s guide, which will be released later this week.

I had the seventh pick in this 23-round draft containing your standard infield spots, five outfield spots, a middle- and corner-infielder, utility and nine pitcher spots. It was set to a 5×5 scoring system. My picks were: [Read more...]

45 Prospects in 45 Days: Boston’s Xander Bogaerts

Profile

One of the more highly anticipated Major League prospects set for his first full season is Xander Bogaerts, Boston’s top prospect. The 21-year-old shortstop played well in his first taste of the big leagues last September, going .250/.320/.364 in 50 regular season plate appearances and .296/.412/.481 in 34 postseason plate appearances. Most notable in Bogaerts’ debut was his plate discipline, walking 11 times overall and averaging 4.1 pitches per plate appearance – which would’ve ranked 20th in the majors had he qualified. Bogaerts displayed good power and plate discipline in his minor league seasons, so it’s good to see that the shortstop carried over one of his skills while the other one will come as he ages.

Pundits

Of the three prospect sources I look at most often – ESPN’s Keith Law, Baseball Prospectus’ Jason Parks and MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis – Bogaerts comes in at second on all three lists. At a position that’s loaded with top-tier prospects Bogaerts is regarded as the best of the bunch. Bogaerts projects to be a good defender, but an even better hitter.

Law projects Bogaerts to have plus power with “explosive potential,” while MLB.com says he has “big raw power.” Both sources rave about Bogaerts’ ability to make hard, loud contact. Parks believes Bogaerts will “hit for both a high average and game power.” BP and Law compare Bogaerts to Troy Tulowitzki, minus the double-digit steal potential/history. Multiple mentions of Boegarts’ makeup and mental focus make his floor very high. The native Aruban has a chance to be a very special player at a thin position, capable of hitting 25 or more homers with a .300 average and a very good on-base percentage.

Minor League Production

Bogaerts signed as an amateur free agent in 2009 and saw his first professional at-bats stateside in 2011. As an 18-year-old in Single A ball he hit 16 home runs in 72 games. As a 19-year-old in his first taste of Double A he hit .326/.351/.598, and then, at 20, he dominated Triple A with nine homers and a near-11 percent walk rate in 60 games.

Age

Level

PA

HR

K%

BB%

AVG

OPS

18

A

296

16

24

8.4

.260

.833

19

A+

435

15

19.5

9.9

.302

.883

19

AA

97

5

21.6

1.0

.326

.949

20

AA

259

6

19.7

13.5

.306

.892

20

AAA

256

9

17.2

10.9

.284

.822

From day one Bogaerts displayed great power and the ability to hit for a high average with a high BABIP. It’s great to see his walk rate get better as he aged and went up the minor league ladder.

Projections

 

System

PA

HR

BB%

K%

AVG

OBP

SLG

Steamer

558

14

8.1

19.5

.261

.325

.413

Oliver

600

16

9.8

23.5

.269

.343

.436

Zips

573

16

8.0

23.6

.267

.331

.429

All three projection systems believe Bogaerts will be able to make an immediate impact in 2014. It seems like mid-teens in homers should be doable, and in a good Boston lineup he should see plenty of chances at runs and RBI. His plate discipline gives him the chance to supply you with an average that won’t kill you and a good OBP, especially compared to other shortstops. By wOBA, the projections believe Bogaerts will be above average by a fair amount. And would you look at that – Bogaerts top comp, according to Zips, is Tulowitzki.

Prediction

Depending on where you play your fantasy baseball Bogaerts could qualify as a third baseman (CBS and ESPN) or at third and shortstop (Yahoo!). He should gain shortstop eligibility quickly in the season as long as Boston doesn’t sign Stephen Drew or someone else to fill in there. So, if he qualifies at shortstop on draft day he should be a top eight selection in re-draft leagues and possibly a top three selection in keepers. At third base he should be a top 12 selection in re-draft leagues and possibly a top five selection in keepers.

Don’t overdraft him, as we can’t count the number of times someone has had a small amount of success late in the season and then failed to keep it up the next year, even if they were a top prospect. But if you’re debating between Bogaerts or a low-upside established player in the middle rounds take a shot on Bogaerts.