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

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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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2014 Fantasy Baseball: Marcus Stroman, Disturbingly Underdiscussed

Stroman-640x360

It’s kind of hard to remember that Marcus Stroman was called up this season. It was a huge deal when it happened, but there hasn’t been much noise around him since, maybe it’s because the Blue Jays have fallen off. Still, he joined a struggling rotation that was basically just being asked to not blow games, because Toronto’s offense was so good. Well, he’s been everything they/we expected of him, possibly more.

Prospect coverage is so good in baseball today, that we’re immediately onto the next thing after one person is called up. Stroman’s up? Cool, what about Gregory Polanco, though? After Polanco was called up, we began focusing on Mookie Betts and Arismendy Alcantara. That isn’t a bad thing; it’s our nature. always looking at what’s on the horizon (Hi, Kris Bryant!) makes us miss what is happening in front of us, though. So, today, let’s appreciate Marcus Stroman.

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2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Farm Report, July 22

baez land

The MiLB report is back.

Mookie Betts, after a short stint in Boston, is back in Triple-A. His long term prospects haven’t changed, though; his talent will likely shine through next season, when he should be in line for regular at-bats.

Another stalwart, who bursted onto the scene, has struggled mightily lately – if you’re thinking about Gregory Polanco, we’re on the same wavelength. In his last 100 plate appearances, Polanco has posted a 62 wRC+. Much like Betts, he’s fine. He’s just another example, that despite any prospect’s pedigree, immediate success isn’t guaranteed.

As for players still in the minors… [Read more...]