Stephen Piscotty (+31.8%) was the most added player in fantasy baseball over the past week. Another homegrown talent looks to be panning out for the NL-leading St. Louis Cardinals, joining other key MLB players such as Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Kolten Wong, Trevor Rosenthal, and Jaime Garcia who were drafted and developed by that organization. As far as Piscotty goes, his name is like a glorious reminder of the incredible homemade biscotti and pizzelles that my Italian aunts used to make for me as a kid. Piscotty’s production this season since being called up roughly six weeks ago has been just as delicious for fantasy owners (well, almost). Entering yesterday’s play, his August numbers – 15 R, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 1 SB, .340/.374/.600 in 107 PA – have been stunning, with top-20 results in several key categories (BA, SLG, OPS) among qualified players over that span. However, his mediocre 0.22 BB/K ratio (MLB average: 0.37) over the past month as well as an unsustainably high .405 BABIP (MLB average: .299) indicate that he’ll probably be more like a Stella D’oro Breakfast Treat moving forward. Pretty good in it’s own right, but can’t hold a candle to Aunt Theresa’s homemade goodies.

Here are a couple of other significant adds and drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:

Kris Medlen – 31.1% owned (+19.3%)

Remember Medlen’s unbelievable 2nd half performance in 2012, in which he went 9-0 with a .94 ERA, .82 WHIP, and 95 Ks in 95 1/3 IP? The bad news is that he’ll probably never go on an extended run like that again. The good news is that he doesn’t have to be nearly that good in order to be a fantasy asset down the stretch. After missing the 2014 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, Medlen finally returned to action as a reliever on July 20th, and was stretched out enough to rejoin the starting rotation just over a week ago.

The early results have been promising. He’s won each of his 2 starts with the Royals while allowing 6 ER across 11 1/3 IP. More importantly, Medlen’s impeccable control seems to have returned as he’s allowed just 2 walks over both of those starts, and 3 walks combined during the month of August (19 1/3 IP). It doesn’t hurt that he’s striking out roughly a batter-per-inning (25 in 25 2/3 IP total, 11 in 11 1/3 as a starter) as well. Also, since the last time he pitched in 2013, Medlen’s velocity is up almost 2 mph on his fastball (89.4 to 91.2) and over 2 mph on both his curveball and change-up this season. Want more? Kansas City has graded out as the best defensive team in MLB this season, leading MLB in both Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), and Kauffman Stadium currently has the 5th lowest HR park factor in MLB this season. Looking for some SP help down the stretch? Look no further. TREASURE.

Taijuan Walker – 53.5% owned (-6.7%)

Walker hasn’t exactly been the most reliable pitcher this season, as his 4.53 ERA might indicate. One of his biggest issues has been his tendency to give up the long ball. He’s already allowed 22 homers this season, and his 1.29 HR/9 is among the worst marks in MLB, and much higher than the MLB average of 1.05 HR/9 for starting pitchers. That’s led to a few crooked numbers in his game log this season. But take a look at his last six starts to get an idea of how he’s pitched recently:

• 40 1/3 IP, 31 H, 14 ER, 7 BB, 35 K, 3.12 ERA, .94 WHIP, 3 HR allowed

Walker has kept the ball in the park at a significantly better rate recently, allowing just 3 homers over his last 6 starts (0.67 HR/9). Four of those six starts just happened to be on the road as well, including outings in Colorado, Texas, and the Cell in Chicago, parks that aren’t known for their pitcher-friendly environments. Factor in his 3.92 K/BB ratio this season (23rd among qualified MLB SPs) and raw stuff (94.3 FBv – 14th in MLB), and it’s easy to see a pitcher who’s upside is through the roof. Walker’s not an option for the faint of heart, but he should be a nice source of strikeouts and might not be the ratio killer that he’s perceived to be over the next few weeks if he can continue to keep the ball in the park. TREASURE.

 

 

 
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    I’ve noticed you have a high treasure to trash ratio. Do you think that’s due to your OBP (Optimistic Baseball Predictions)?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Grey: The glass is half full! Unless it’s beer. But yeah you’re right, it’s just that this time of year I think that people know which players have been useless and I’d rather focus on the guys who can be helpful down the home stretch.

      Are you longing for more trash? Maybe a viewing of Men at Work would fit the bill?

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: the band or the movie? I’m sensing a little of both

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: The movie. There’s nothing wrong with the band either though.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Big Magoo: Collin Hay!

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        HA, nah, heavy treasure does the trick Davy Jones Locker

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Grey: Was that the 3rd Pirates flick? Never saw it. Can’t go wrong with Sheen and Estevez though. Well, you can, but I’ve always enjoyed that movie.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Grey: Magoo is the debbie downer of fantasy…or at least that’s what it feels like when I tell him players I like

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        @J-FOH: Honesty is the best policy

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Big Magoo: tell me more about how you wouldn’t trade me Puig

          • Big Magoo

            Big Magoo says:
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            @J-FOH: Not for Morales + McCullers or whatever you were offering at the time

            • J-FOH says:
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              @Big Magoo: you said it was going to cost me Braun plus a chip

              • Big Magoo

                Big Magoo says:
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                @J-FOH: It’s all a part of the negotiating process. I don’t remember seeing an official offer.

  2. Scott says:
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    Francisco Lindor +24%!

    +1% for every time Grey tells us to pick him up!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Scott: Yup. Pick him up!

  3. Chris says:
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    I’ve got Matz on the DL and will have to activate him at some point coming up. The bottom of my rotation is Syndergaard, Ross, Quintana, Carlos Rodon and Medlen. I was leaning toward cutting Medlen to activate Matz but after reading this I’m not so sure. What do you think? H2H Pts League.

    Thanks.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Chris: I’d lose Quintana there. He hasn’t pitched all that well recently, and his win potential is limited on the Sox.

  4. Five-On-One says:
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    Any thoughts on De Aza, now that he is playing for the offense machine SF Giants? Will he get steady playing time? Worth an add (12-team, 5×5 roto league)? Expecially for the four games in COL this week?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Five-On-One: Sure, he’d be a fine add for the series at Coors. I think he’s just there to hold down the fort until Pence returns though. Not to mention the injury issues that Pagan and Aoki have experienced.

  5. Ante GALIC says:
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    Big Magoo!!!

    Thanks so much for the insightful article / write-up. Have signed up Medlen in 3/4 leagues (started him in 2/4 leagues this week for his 2-start) and Piscotty in 2/4 of leagues. Have had Walker at times this year mostly on the losing side. Maybe next year I’m all in.

    I’m also in on JoFer (2/4 leagues) and Berrios (4/4) for my playoff push. I am in for sure in 2 leagues and have a good chance of making the playoffs in 2 other leagues. Will need luck in week 23.

    Thanks for all the good tips and advice throughout the year. Looking at my team would definitely be worse off without you.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Ante GALIC: No problem, Ante. Thanks for the kind words and the comments throughout the year. Good luck in your playoff push!

  6. nightpandas says:
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    3 moves left for the year….worth grabbing Medlen and dropping Morton?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @nightpandas: I’d probably hold there. I like Medlen more than Morton, but the move might be more valuable to you at this point in case injuries strike.

  7. morecowbell says:
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    Drop Jimmy Nelson or Chris Basset for Taijuan? Those two are all over the place after having a relatively good late July/most of August.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @morecowbell: Drop Bassitt for Walker. Bassitt was scratched from today’s start and doesn’t have a timetable for his return.

  8. Erick says:
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    12 team H2H points league where HR/RBI/R/SB are valued..Who should I take down the stretch? (one per position)

    For the rest of the season:
    SS: Matt Duffy, Jose Reyes, or Javier Baez
    OF: Dexter Fowler or Alex Gordon

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Erick: Duffy is SS eligible in your league? I’d give a slight edge to Reyes over Duffy and Fowler over Gordon. Duffy is playing through a sprained ankle at the moment, and Gordon is likely to be eased back into the lineup (frequent off days) after such a long layoff.

  9. Dusty Baker says:
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    I am in a NL Only 5×5 10 team League ———— not going to gain much if any ground in the hitting department- so I have asked for offers on Cespedes —- Looking for an upper tier pitcher ———————–the offer I got is my Cespedes and my Rondon for his Arrietta — I got Matz coming off the DL soon, and was hoping he would take Zeigler instead of Rondon…………. IF my RP have a good run as is, I could move up a few notches in the Saves / Holds Categorey ———————–your thoughts on this trade ? Arrietta will help in 4 cats for me, and just might be the move to get me into 2nd if not first place, I am 9 points out of the lead going into Tuesday games – already have Cloe, Liriano, Nola, Corbin, Neise (ugh), Melanchon, Rondon, Zeigler, Vizcizno, and Niciloni on my staff – thanks – Bra – DB

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Dusty Baker: If it gives you a better chance this year, it sounds like a solid deal. I like it even better in a keeper/dynasty since there’s a decent chance that Cespedes signs with an AL team in the offseason.

      • Dusty Baker says:
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        @Big Magoo: It is a redraft league ——–since i got your attention – How about me grabbing Colon and Broxton off waivers and dumping Vizciano and Neise ? We do Holds+ Saves- Just saw Cole’s numbers tonight, is he regressing, or just a bump in the road tonight ?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Dusty Baker: Niese and Colon have pretty similar value, so there’s no real reason to make that swap. Just keep an eye on the local Mets news since one of them might get bumped out of the rotation now that Matz is back. Broxton is always a blow-up waiting to happen. I’d hang onto Vizcaino over him.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Dusty Baker: Oh, and I wouldn’t worry about Cole as long as he’s healthy. He’s still been pretty solid recently. Just about anything would resemble regression compared to his first half numbers.

          • Dusty Baker says:
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            @Big Magoo: true on Broxton – lol- in regards to Colon vs Neise, Colon has tendencies to rack up some K’s , is what I saw as advantage over Neise……………. thanks- DB

            • Dusty Baker says:
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              @Dusty Baker: one last thing, theres no bench in our league ———so Vizcizno is almost a dead spot, as Atlanta aint winning much, and Brox could get some holds, maybe a win now and then ?

              • Big Magoo

                Big Magoo says:
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                @Dusty Baker: Yeah, Colon has a higher K-rate than Niese, but his next two starts are on the road where he’s struggled (5.15 ERA, 1.39 WHIP). Niese has actually been better on the road than at home, but he’s struggled recently. Kind of a toss-up.

                Broxton has actually been pretty good over the last month since going to St. Louis, but he’s also been a bit lucky (1.50 ERA in August despite 7 walks in 12 IP). He’s a good bet for holds there though, so if you can take a bit of a hit in ratios, that would be a decent swap.

                • Dusty Baker says:
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                  @Big Magoo: ok thanks for the chat – have a good week – DB

                  • Big Magoo

                    Big Magoo says:
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                    @Dusty Baker: No problem. You too!

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