2014 Fantasy Baseball: What if Christian Yelich Had More Power?

Photo Credit: Scott

Photo Credit: Scott

Lost in Giancarlo Stanton’s monstrous year is this: Christian Yelich, a popular breakout pick, has been very good. Back in March, he was one of my favorite targets. He was young, disciplined, had some speed and showed good bat-to-ball skills, allowing solid contact more often (he never pops up!). I was able to land him on multiple teams. And he’s been an asset, no doubt. If you didn’t look at a player rater - which puts Yelich in top 50 territory - you might not think he’s helped you that much, but he has.

He’s only left the yard nine times, while swiping 20 bags. His average and OBP are well above average, though, sitting at .292 and .372, respectively. And he’s thrived by simply being in front of Stanton – who isn’t of this world – crossing the plate nearly 90 times, ranking him in the top 15 in runs scored.

Basically, Yelich has done what many hoped for: provide some power and speed, while helping in whichever rate statistic your league uses. More power is on the way, though, and I believe there is a unique comparison to be made. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Corey Dickerson Bandwagon

dickerson land

Source: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images North America

I love Coors Field. The Rockies’ pitchers – pitchers of any team really – might not. Hitters do, obviously. Last year, Michael Cuddyer revived his career in the Mile High City. Justin Morneau did so this year. Troy Tulowitzki did his usual: crushed and then got hurt; Carlos Gonzalez, too. Nolan Arenado has taken a step forward as well. Perhaps lost in all of that is this: Corey Dickerson is awesome.

Using wOBA (probably more useful in this context than wRC+, because a dinger is a dinger in fantasy after all), Dickerson has been the fifth best hitter in the major leagues; if you adjust for Coors, he’s seventeenth. Despite only coming to the dish a little over 400 times so far, Dickerson has hit 22 home runs, good for ninth among outfielders. And he has swiped eight bags in the process while hitting for a fantastic average.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball: Brad Boxberger, The Next Great Reliever?

boxberger land

Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America

Relievers don’t garner much interest unless they occupy the closer role. It’s just the way it is. As we know, though, closers – and bullpens in general – change on a whim. So, this week, I’ve spent a lot of time planning for next year, or at least thinking about it.

In Tuesday’s Rookie Report, I focused mainly on Ken Giles, Philadelphia’s flamethrowing new addition, who just happens to not have a sexy fantasy role. Only Jonathan Papelbon and, maybe, Antonio Bastardo stand in his way of being Philly’s closer. If I were running the show, he’d be chosen over Bastardo, but I’m not. Giles isn’t today’s man, though, Brad Boxberger is.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Rookie Report, August 26

Javier Baez Fantasy Baseball

Today’s report will be the last one for a little while. I’ll likely do a recap once the season ends, but I’ll be taking a quick break. Before that happens, though, let’s review once again, complete with plenty of Javier Baez talk. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Is Yovani Gallardo’s Resurgence Legit?

Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo’s declining strikeout rate and ever present command issues set off alarms in 2013, forcing nearly everyone to avoid him on draft day. But, despite all of the warning signs, he’s pitched well. Interestingly enough, though, he hasn’t done what many people – including myself – thought he had to do in order to regain his footing.

Gallardo’s calling cards for years were two things: innings and strikeouts. From 2009 until 2012, Gallardo threw at least 185 innings and struck out at least 200 batters each year; his 2013 totals were 180 and 144, respectively. He was never an ace, but he was solid, reliable. But in 2013, the wheels came off a little. His strikeouts plummeted, which made his walks hurt even more.

Gallardo never pounded the zone. He relied on batters chasing pitches, especially his curveball.

Year Zone% Swing% O-Swing% Contact% swStr%
2009 32.8% 39.3% 35.2% 59.8% 15.8%
2010 34.6% 43.9% 35.4% 64.5% 15.6%
2011 33.8% 43.7% 36.2% 62.1% 16.6%
2012 35.1% 37.3% 28.7% 67.9% 12.0%
2013 37.0% 35.9% 27.5% 69.1% 11.1%
2014 34.3% 36.6% 28.3% 69.6% 11.1%
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2014 Fantasy Baseball: Kyle Seager Is Consistent, Yet Improving

Kyle Seager

I’ve been on a consistency kick lately. I’m not really sure how I ended up there, but I did. Over the past two weeks, I’ve written about Nick Swisherclockwork consistency for many years – and Lucas Dudaperhaps our new Swisher.

Almost to a fault we associate consistency with older players that have less perceived upside. They’re safe, or not sexy, depending on how you read the piece, I guess. Young players can fall into that bin, though. How many years does it take someone to become consistent in your mind? Personally, two to three years is plenty for me in most cases. Which brings us to the man of the hour: Kyle Seager.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Farm Report, August 12

archie-bradley

Well, Trevor May and Javier Baez have left us. Most like, they’ve left us for good. Baez did so with a bang, treating Coors Field like the launching bad it is. Sure, he swings and misses a ton, but when he makes contact angels sing. May’s debut did not go as planned. He walked seven batters in two innings, striking out zero, and surrendering four runs before he was not allowed to throw another pitch. He’s better than that, so don’t fret too much. [Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Matt Carpenter’s Skeptics Were Right

Matt Carpenter Fantasy Baseball

Photo credit: spdpat

Matt Carpenter was a rather contentious player in the offseason. The following questions were asked by everyone: Will he show more power? If not, what if it drops off? What happens when his run total inevitably drops off? Is he really a near-400 OBP guy?

We’re at the point in the season where we can, with some certainty, say questions have been answered. As for Carpenter, the skeptics were right, for the most part.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Rookie Report, August 5

Stroman-640x360

We’re not far off from a few late season call-ups (Hi, Javy Baez.). In about a month, we should get our first looks at some prospects at the major league level. That’s always exciting, but for now let’s focus on the rookie class at hand.

Name Team PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
Jose Abreu White Sox 421 58 31 84 1 0.304 0.361 0.627 0.416
George Springer Astros 345 45 20 51 5 0.231 0.336 0.468 0.351
Chris Owings Diamondbacks 254 26 6 21 7 0.277 0.313 0.458 0.336
Josmil Pinto Twins 158 19 7 16 0.222 0.323 0.407 0.326
Arismendy Alcantara Cubs 102 11 2 8 4 0.253 0.324 0.407 0.324
Nick Castellanos Tigers 375 33 7 41 2 0.259 0.309 0.402 0.312
Billy Hamilton Reds 425 57 6 42 43 0.273 0.301 0.402 0.308
Jon Singleton Astros 209 27 10 30 1 0.195 0.282 0.405 0.304
Kolten Wong Cardinals 259 29 7 28 16 0.243 0.289 0.389 0.299
Xander Bogaerts Red Sox 421 46 8 26 2 0.239 0.306 0.360 0.298
Rougned Odor Rangers 241 20 3 22 2 0.255 0.297 0.373 0.294
Mookie Betts Red Sox 40 6 1 2 1 0.243 0.282 0.378 0.294

[Read more...]

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Wade Miley Is Getting Better

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies

Wade Miley dug himself quite a hole in April, posting a 5.36 ERA and allowing opposing batters to post a .349 wOBA against him. Pitching that poorly in April assures two things: either your line will never look good or you’ll have to pitch really, really well the rest of the season to have a decent line. It’s difficult to have a good season after spending 42 innings allowing that many runs. Miley’s done the latter, for the most part.

Since May 4 (Miley’s first May start), Miley has posted a 3.65 ERA (3.61 FIP; 3.25 xFIP) in a little over 103 innings. Perhaps more importantly, Miley’s strikeout rate has been well over his career high during this stretch. He’s struck out 22% of the batter he’s faced in that frame, walking only 6.7%; his career numbers are 18.3% and 6.8%, respectively. Maybe best of all, these extra strikeouts haven’t come from nowhere, they’re backed up by his swinging strike percentage.

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