I swear that box score turning blue to alert people there’s something historic going on is the mother of all jinxes. Not to mention, all the people talking about the perfect game. Member when that was a jinx? Since we’re currently living in the Age of Opinion (which is not the Scorsese movie, though if it gets the green-light, Gary Oldman could play the lead), everyone talks about the perfect game while it’s going on. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitbook, PinkedIn. In my day, we never mentioned a perfect game on Friendster! And on my General Gist band page on Myspace? Nary a whisper! Well, Jake Arrieta still pitched outstanding yesterday — 7 IP, 2 ER, 3 baserunners, 9 Ks, ERA at 2.05 — even if the bid for a perfect game came up short. Like Altuve short. Like Kershaw looks at Arrieta’s perfect game bid and giggles. Still, this is about where Arrieta’s been and where he can go. What I said the other day still remains true — his swings and misses are going up, his control is getting better and he’s using his cutter more — a pitch he can dominant with. I’d still look at him in every league. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
The Colorado Rockies have not had an easy go of it this season. After beginning the year in tremendous fashion, injuries have contributed to a pretty steady drop in the standings. Once 22-14, the Rockies have fallen one game below .500, to 34-35. Pitching is always to blame when it comes to the blemishes of the Blake Street Bombers, and this year has been no exception, with the team placing last in the majors with a 4.61 ERA. However, mounting injuries have put an even bigger dent into the psyche of the good spirited people of Denver. First, Nolan Arenado hit the DL. Then it was Michael Cuddyer (twice) and Carlos Gonzalez. Pitcher Jordan Lyles, who had been their best starter to date, broke his non-pitching hand on a freak play. Wilin Rosario even had a stint on the sidelines with a stomach bug. Presumably, he’s been using that as his excuse for his poor hitting all season long. The only player who hasn’t been hurt is human house-of-straw, Justin Morneau. Go figure.
Good news for the Rockies, and for fantasy owners, is that Arenado (finger) could be back by the All-Star break, or perhaps even sooner if he can progress quickly through rehab games. While any possible cancer scare is nothing to dismiss, the fact that CarGo’s injury was “only” a benign foreign mass — and not a torn ligament — was the best possible news his owners could hear. His original five-week timetable would have him back around the All-Star break.
Now all the Rockies need to do is get superz-sized sheets of bubble wrap for Troy Tulowitzki.
Here are some other injury notes that caught my eye this week…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I know I’ve had some requests for more fun pitchers, but Dillon Gee was a guy I ranked high and a guy I kept high. And very early on “I tried to figure out why… I had him so high!”, but lately dude has been tossin’ gas!
The very under-appreciated Gee ended 2013 on a tear, pitching with a 2.41 ERA from May 30 to September 15 – with 100 Ks in 137.1 IP in 20 starts. So ridiculously under the radar that Lord Helmet must’ve jammed it!
As a non-Mets fan and non-Gee owner in any leagues at the current present, I haven’t buckled down to watch any of his starts as of late. And with three scoreless outings out of his past four – giving up two runs total in those four – I decided to break down his start yesterday at the Rockies and if Gee should be owned in a lot more than 38% of leagues:Please, blog, may I have some more?
On Saturday, Jon Lester threw a gem: 8 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 15 Ks. Such a gem that if that were a blood diamond, diplomats from Monrovia would be lined up in the streets of Liberia for a taste of that. If that were an emerald, friends of Dorothy would stand outside of Ricky Martin’s hotel for weeks just for the chance he forgoes the hotel buffet and wants to eat out. If that were a ruby, it would stand outside a Dallas police station to cover any possible conspiracies and add fuel to other conspiracies. Lester has pitched spectacularly so far, and it’s not a product of luck. His 10.7 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 are elite. Those are fantasy ace numbers. His fastball doesn’t have renewed life, if anything he’s lost something on it. What appears to be the biggest difference is he’s almost completely abandoned his changeup and throwing his cutter a bit more. Since he’s always been good for 200 innings and has had huge success before, I’m willing to say he will hold the improvements to his rates and be an extremely reliable starter. Likely in the top 15 for the year. Yeah, he looks damn good. I want some, purdy puhlease. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Marcus Stroman has a slide piece that would make John Popper jealous. Last year, he was just as dominating, so it’s not like this came out of nowhere. Well, last year after he returned from his suspension for testing positive for methylhexaneamine. Did you know that no one connected to the commissioner’s office was able to pronounce what he was suspended for nor anyone directly connected to Stroman? His grandma said, “My grandy-son was suspended for menthol cigarettes?” A coach familiar with Stroman said, “It was really frustrating when people kept asking, ‘What’s he suspended for?’ After a while, when people asked during his suspension where Stroman was, we’d just say he was in the bathroom. No one wanted to try to pronounce the drug he was banned for.” Last week, he threw six no-hit innings. Here’s what Prospect Scott said in the offseason, “The 22-year-old made 20 Double-A starts on the season, posting a 3.30 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP, and K/9 at 10.4. Those of you who read my posts throughout the regular season know that I’m intrigued by Stroman — he brings a fastball/slider combo that’s as good as any in the minors, and that skill set makes for some exciting performances (he whiffed 11+ batters in four of his 20 starts). Stroman was probably ready for a big league look this past September, but the Jays opted to send him to the Arizona Fall League instead. Big time whiff potential will make him a coveted piece in the fantasy game as soon as he surfaces. Speaking of faces, I hate Grey’s.” Hey! The Jays will be finished with McGowan in the landmark case of sooner vs. later, as well they should be. Stroman could be up any day now, Annie Potts. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Let me preface this post with the following: the next one will be much deeper. [Ed. Note -- That's what she said!] I’m talking 0% ownership. I’m talking Morgan Freeman’s deep voice in the movie Deep Impact. I’m talking real throaty [Ed. Note-- Darn, shoulda saved it for that one...], but for now… Here are starters approaching 50% ownership (as of 4/28) that I’d jump on if they’re still available:
Danny Salazar – with a dominating start this past weekend, he’s back above the 50% owned mark, so I won’t expand too much here. The swinging strike rate is down to a sustainable level and the youth/homerun propensity reminds us (me) why we (I) shouldn’t get too excited. Prior to the season I pointed to Salazar’s dominating repertoire here and here. As long as he stays healthy, I think he’ll continue to be Matt Harvey Jr. According to Baseball Prospectus’ Pitchf/x Leaderboard, he’s still got a top-15 Fastball velocity, but a -2 MPH difference and 12% less swinging strikes on the fastball relative to last year will now keep me rational. He’s got the unlucky smokescreen going i.e. an elevated HR/FB ratio, LOB% and hideous BABIP. Again, as long as he stays healthy, there is still a ton to like here with the high velocity + devastating repertoire. Pluck him off waivers or buy low sooner than later.
…what it is ain’t exactly clear. You gotta stop, doctor, take an MRI, see if any ligaments gone awry. Cause this is just more signs of a local Harper unravelin’. His hustlin’ got my ass wondering where Chris Colabello is in all of this crisis. Harper had game. We had Bryce Harper‘s game. Behind the game. Ah, you didn’t know it was gonna be the Public Enemy remix. You know, hustle is a’ight when you’re trying to keep your honey in check. Or when you’re trying to make an airplane that leaves in fifteen minutes and you have to do a number two in the airport bathroom before you get on the plane. Hustling to such an extreme that it knocks you to the DL at least once a year is not cool. You’re out of control, peckerwood! It sounds like he could miss as much as two months, but official word on how long he’s gonna be out has not come out yet. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.
Before a big test, my high school history teacher would always announce that it would “separate the Dukes from the Chiefs.” Since he liked to be known as Chief, and he called everyone he liked Chief, I’m assuming that this meant that the “Chiefs” were the good guys. Then again, Chief also liked to transport himself back to ‘Nam sometimes, stalking around the classroom looking for “Charlie.” The weirdest thing? I’m not even sure he was in ‘Nam.
Anywho, this legendary teacher from my youth came to mind as I was writing this week’s Two Startapalooza because at Week 4, we’re starting to be able to separate the Dukes from the Chiefs.
As in, it’s obvious that Darvish, King Felix and James Shields are still Chiefs. Yordano Ventura and Julio Teheran are looking like Chiefs. Cliff Lee, who was starting to look a little Duke-ish to me, is still pretty much a Chief. David Price, a surefire Chief a few years ago, is very much a Duke right now.
It’s becoming a lot easier to fill out the Third Tier and Don’t Starts, because we know who is a Duke and who is not. And to get in the Must Start category, you are most certainly a Chief or you have two starts against the Astros next week.
Aight, Chief, let’s get to it.Please, blog, may I have some more?
As they say in a Jewelery District of any major city, Johnny Cueto pitched a gem. Well, any major city except Detroit. There they call a gem, “Slowly remove it from your finger, and no funny business!” Against the Pirates yesterday — 9 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 12 Ks. Pretty much across the board for Cueto’s career, I haven’t been a fan. His xFIP has always been much worse than his ERA, and his K-rate has never been close to an elite starter. Well, a weird thing happened on the way to his fifth start of the year, he looks like an ace. His xFIP is down to 2.55, his K-rate is 10.50 and his walk rate is 2.40. Those are fantasy ace numbers. Last year through April, he had a 2.80 xFIP, 9.35 K-rate and 3.12 walk rate. Those numbers aren’t that different. Hey, random italicized letters are my shtick. Not right now, Random Italicized Voice. Whoa, snippy! There is one fairly significant difference between Cueto this year and last. About a mile per hour on his fastball. In some instances, his fastball is averaging two extra miles per hour from last April, and he’s cut out his, uh, cutter, and his ground balls have remained. He’s pitching slightly different, slightly better, and, for the first time I can remember, I’m really liking what Cueto is showing. Ain’t that a kick in Jason LaRue’s head? His ERA won’t stay at 1.50, but I also wouldn’t be looking to sell him high. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
See Nate Eovaldi throw 99 MPH! Stop. In a part! Stop. Never before seen! Stop. As he takes on the role! Stop. Of Stanley Fastballski! Stop. He’s got a method fastball! Stop. Adapted from the book! Stop. You Shall Know My Eovelocity! Stop. If you want to park in the underground garage! Stop. No, seriously, stop! Stop. We don’t Eovalidate that garage! I loved what I saw the other day from Eovaldi. As Alicia Keys says, he throws fiiiiiiiiiiire! Fiiiiiiiiiire! Fiiiiiiiiiiire! He averaged over 96 MPH in his first start. That’s really good. That would’ve been the best fastball velocity for any starter for all of last year. Better than Matt Harvey. I don’t think he can maintain 96, but even if it falls to 94 on average, which it has been his entire career, he’s still in the top 1% of all starters. Only seven guys threw that fast last year. The list is a who’s who of guys you want on your team — Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, Samardzija, Homer Bailey, Cashner and the aforementioned Harvey. For his velocity alone, you should pick up Eovaldi in every league. Wins will be hard to come by, but a 3.50 ERA and a 7+ K-rate won’t be. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?