As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries. What positions are a lock? What positions are being fought over? What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the second part of this series will focus on AL Central… (You can check out the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)Please, blog, may I have some more?
Maybe it’s the rush of the holiday season with two kids or the fact that some major cash is flowing in free agency, but I feel like this year’s offseason is just whizzing by. This will be the last sort of “stat review” for SAGNOF before I head into the territory of value plays for steals in 2014. This post will lay out some of the best and worst catchers in terms of their caught stealing percentages (CS%). Keep in mind that pitchers have a lot to do with holding baserunners as well, and you can find my previous post on the best and worst pitchers against the stolen base here at Razzball. A quick note on the catcher tables – I sorted them by qualified and non-qualified catchers. “Qualified” catchers played more than 1/2 of their team’s games, while “non-qualified” catchers played less than that. Catchers who split times between two teams, like Kurt Suzuki, also end up on the “non-qualified” list. The league average caught stealing percentage in 2013 was 28%, and that hasn’t really changed much over the last 3 years (27% in 2012, 28% in 2011). Last but not least, consider that playing time situations can fluctuate with free agent signings and trades, creating new opportunities for previously non-qualified catchers as the offseason transactions continue. Green columns indicate guys that are easy to run against, and red columns designate the toughest to run against:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Charlie Morton‘s start yesterday of 7 IP, 1 ER, 9 baserunners, 6 Ks wasn’t incredible in itself, but other than Lenny from Laverne and Shirley when he was wearing a Lone Wolf jacket and Burgess Meredith when he broke his glasses on The Twilight Zone, nothing in this world is to itself. There’s befores and afters, causes and effects and chewy watermelon Now and Laters. Morton has now strung together six straight starts and nine of his last ten, dropping his ERA to 3.00. His K-rate isn’t particularly inspiring, but his walk rate is more than solid and his xFIP is 3.62, which tells us he’s not that far from a guy you start every time out. With all of that said, I still don’t trust him for his next start vs. the Cardinals, but then he gets the Cubs and Padres, and for those two starts, I’d absolutely gamble that Morton is worth his salt. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
So while helping Scott with his prospect and two-start pitcher questions over the weekend, I got a lot of questions for the best spot starter on Sunday. I told everyone Hector Santiago followed closely by the debut of Jose Alvarez. Score one for me! I decided to write my pitcher profile on one of those guys, and since Alvarez only came up for one start (he’s already back in AAA), I went with Santiago. Quick tangent – how unfair is that Tigers rotation? Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello (who everyone needs to pick up – Ks are for real, looks like it’s all together now and he’s only 24), then Drew Smyly who should become a starter one day soon, and now Alvarez. Yikes.
Anyway, Santiago has been yo-yoed in and out of the rotation, and after Jake Peavy fell to injury yet again, Santiago should remain in the starting staff for at least the next month if not longer. He’s been better as a starter than out of the bullpen this year, and has over a K per 9 this season. There’s a lot of things to like with Santiago, so I broke down his start yesterday afternoon against the Athletics to monitor his repertoire and what to expect while he’s in the White Sox rotation.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Matt Moore had the line of 5 IP, 8 ER, 13 baserunners, 6 Ks. But he only allowed one walk! What? Like putting frosting on a doodie cupcake? Like eating only cupcakes for three weeks, then pooping into a cupcake pan? Do you eat the cupcake ingredients separate, then let them mix in your stomach? Does it matter? Either way, Moore was crap. If you thought he was a sub-2 ERA pitcher, you were lying to yourself. Remember, it’s okay to lie to others, dangerous when you lie to yourself. Moore’s xFIP is egregious, which meant he had some regressing to do. His walks are out of control — literally. His walks right now are Jonathan Sanchez bad. Yes, that made me shudder too. If you build a pitching staff house with a bunch of Jonathan Sanchezes, it’ll be shuttered. Hopefully, Moore’s next game vs. the Royals will stall further regression and he can cut his walks (and not just when he gets rocked). If Moore can’t get it together vs. the Royals, he’ll have a tough Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers stretch to get through that might need a lengthy benching, i.e. less Moore is more or less Moore. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Geez, Roy Oswalt has sure come a far way since the whole “I will only sign with one or two teams” stance as he signed with the Rockies. They’re not necessarily a bad team, but what pitcher wants to come out of semi-retirement to pitch in Colorado? It’s like Smokey the Bear coming out of semi-retirement to work at a cigar shop. “Smokey, we really appreciate the job you’re doing, but could you stop throwing buckets of water on our customers?” That’s Smokey’s boss at the cigar shop. Better yet, a pitcher coming out of semi-retirement to pitch for the Rockies is like I.M. Pei coming out of retirement to work at Home Depot. Roy Rockie Oswalt must’ve really got sick of driving his kids to school and needed something to do. Oswalt is going to assassinate his career ERA. Maybe Oswalt plans to drive his tractor to Colorado and haul dirt until Coors is at sea level. When your third best starter is a toss-up between Tyler Chatwood and Jeff Francis, you’re pretty much guaranteed a starting job, so Oswalt should be with the major league club shortly, but you shouldn’t care. I liked El Roy with the Astros, but it’s all rut-roh in Colorado. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
According to Wikipedia, the Dozens is a game of spoken words between two contestants, common in African-American communities, where participants insult each other until one gives up. Yesterday, we got a fantasy baseball version. Felix Hernandez started in on Max Scherzer first, “Your name sounds like a character from a Michael Chabon novel!” Scherzer lobbed back, “You could throw a no-hitter and lose!” F-Her redoubled his efforts, “You need two sets of colored contacts!” Scherzer stepped back and threw, “You’re gonna be traded to the Orioles for Erik Bedard!” F-Her fired back, “Your first baseman is so fat his blood type is Ragu!” “Oh, yeah? Well, your center fielder is The Big FraGu!” F-Her threw 8 shutout innings with 12 Ks against one of the best offenses in the game; Scherzer gave up one run with 12 Ks against one of the worst. Both: Great. Winner: Last night, it was F-Her. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
Each week I’ll be looking at some favorable match-ups to help you grab a few extra steals for your fantasy team. Whether you are in a weekly or daily league, looking at weak defensive catchers and strong/aggressive base running teams may help you make decisions as to which players you should start or sit in your hunt for an edge in the stolen base category. Since the 2013 season is only a week old, I’ll use some data from 2012 to get started and give you an idea of what we will be looking for. Just realize that these are only two dimensions that can affect stolen base totals.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Last year, the Buy/Sell brought you such brilliant ideas as “Eric Thames is gonna be a river running through your heart!” and “Brennan Boesch is more like Brennan Bauce.” Buy/Sell, “You know, I don’t point all of your crappy suggestions… A.J. Mass was talking about buying me an acre of land in Kentucky and letting me run around with all of his stolen base draft picks. I may take him up on the offer if you’re not careful.” So, this is the first Buy/Sell of the season. Every Friday there will be a new one. Buy/Sell, “Not if we continue to get along like this. Try me, ‘stache. Try me.” This week’s lede pick is a new fave of mine who might not be worth owning by the end of April in mixed leagues, Jose Fernandez. Here’s an overall note, in this fantasy baseball game that has chosen us, we want to take the risk right now in case someone breaks out. It would be great if we all drafted a team that we can coast to a championship with, but if that’s true, your league isn’t competitive. In any league worth its salt, you need to pepper in some risk. Tuck your head down and go head long into the risk tornado. Fantasy baseballers on the storm, Fantasy baseballers on the storm…Into this blog we are born… Fantasy baseballers on the storm! I’m not saying drop Wainwright after one bad start, but having guys like Jose Fernandez at the end of your staff is much better than guys like Maholm (assuming every one of your other starters isn’t a risky upside gamble). You want guys at the end of your rotation that can do so much more than a 5th or 6th starter, rather than a 5th or 6th starter that is essentially a 5th or 6th starter. As for Fernandez, here’s what I said the other day, “First thing I do when I have a prospect question is search the site to see what Scott, our prospect writer, said. What I found, was a whole Jose Fernandez fantasy. He didn’t stop there, he also talked about him in the Marlins prospect preview post in October. There he said, “Fernandez broke out in 2012, posting a 1.75 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and a 10.6 K/9 between Low-A and High-A. The 20-year-old has legitimate ace-potential, and should find himself in the top-15 on most prospect lists this offseason. Now, if I were making a top-15 list of Well-Groomed Mustaches, Grey wouldn’t make it. When I blow up his picture 1000% in my laboratory, I can see cheese microbes.” Wow, Scott has a laboratory? That’s awesome! So, the Marlins are an interesting beast. They sell off all of their pieces, but they promote within quickly. After watching that Showtime series last year about the Marlins. I’m 50/50 on whether they even know about the arbitration clock. Within their minor league system, they’re run like, “We gotta make it to the playoffs this year!” From the major league level, they’re run like, “Let’s make sure we ship in our concession stands’ Cracker Jack from Chile because it’s four-hundredths of a cent cheaper. They pop their corn in yak oil.” I’d absolutely grab Jose Fernandez in all leagues. He has the chance to be lights out and could go 160 innings. He has the stuff that could make him a top ten starter in all of baseball within a year. For this year, I’ll give him the line of: 7-8/3.74/1.31/120 in 130 innings. Absolutely can be better. And worse. That’s the rookie nookie blessing and curse.” And that’s me quoting me! A lot of people commented about his lack of experience. He hasn’t thrown above High-A. Or as he calls it now, Bye-A. That shouldn’t matter. His stuff will play anywhere. He hits mid-90′s with a plus change and curve. Does it matter that a guy is 20 years old or 30 years old with his stuff? Chances are a pitcher is more likely to have that stuff at 20 with less miles on his arm. Fernandez will need to be lucky to win 10 games this year, but he could get a shizzload of Ks and have decent ratios. If he flames out, then you drop him for the next hot starter. Anyway, here’s some more players to buy or sell this week in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s a bittersweet yum-yum fest with Matt Harvey*. *Line borrowed from a teenaged Asian girl’s diary. I told you to draft him on every team as a 6th starter. Unfortunately, he was drafted as a number three in most leagues. Fortunately if you still drafted him, he’s the boss of the world. Ask him next time you want to go to the bathroom. He will permission you. He’s a benevolent boss. A benevolent boss that says it’s okay when you forget to wear pants to work. Or a benevolent boss that doesn’t scold you when you stare at the clock for the last four hours on a Friday. It was like he was channeling the Spirit of Doc Gooden, but the Spirit had a more responsible sponsor than Keith Hernandez and wasn’t being offered goofballs off some hooker’s chest that Strawberry just brought into the clubhouse. Ralph Kiner, God Bless his soul if he passes sometime in the next 24 hours, napped through the entire Mets game and still knows how good Harvey was. That’s how good he was! And yesterday’s line of 7 IP, 0 ER, 3 baserunners, 10 Ks could just be the beginning. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:Please, blog, may I have some more?