J.P. Arencibia (+32.3%) was the most added player in fantasy baseball over the past week. Ah, you gotta love this time of year, don’t you? All of the prospects who are likely to make an impact in 2015 have long since arrived and most waiver wires are so thin at this point in the season that the most popular add is a journeyman catcher with an illustrious .211 career batting average. Or maybe the whole save-the-earth movement is catching on and human windmills are the trend du jour. Al Gore would be so proud! Whatever the case may be, J.P. has been white hot in September, posting a .375/.375/.938 triple slash with 5 homers and 12 RBI in 32 plate appearances this month. He’s always produced solid power numbers at the MLB level (79 homers in 459 career games), but has he finally tweaked his approach to become a more consistent threat? Well, he has yet to draw a walk this season, and his current 38.1% K% is almost 10% higher than his career average (28.9%). Arencibia’s .429 BABIP would be unsustainable for any player, much less a fly ball hitter like him (career 47% FB%). You down with ol’ J.P.? Hell no, not me! But if you need a catcher with power down the stretch, might as well ride the schmotato while it lasts. Just keep ol’ J.P. on a short leash for when the inevitable crash occurs.
Here are a couple of other significant adds and drops in fantasy baseball over the past week:
Bartolo Colon – 61.5% owned (+11.1%)
Is there a more fascinating player in MLB than Bartolo? Well, he’s still pretty interesting. This 42-year-old pitcher who’s built like a bowling ball is still baffling MLB hitters while relying heavily on a variety of fastballs ranging from 88-91 mph to attack the strike zone. But therein lies his secret – he attacks the strike zone. Since 2012, only Cliff Lee has a lower BB/9 among qualified starting pitchers than Colon’s 1.3 mark, and his 3.5% BB% actually matches Lee for the lowest in MLB over that span. That impeccable control has carried over into this season, as his 1.13 BB/9 is the 2nd lowest among MLB SPs. Colon has had some trouble with the long ball, as his 22 HR allowed match his highest total in a single season since 2005. However, he’s only allowed 8 homers in his last 13 starts dating back to July 1st, and just 5 homers in his last 12 if you exclude his Aug. 21st outing at Coors Field. He’s allowed just 2 ER (and 0 HR) in 31 2/3 IP since that Coors start with 23 strikeouts to just 4 walks over that span. He gets the weak-hitting Marlins (84 wRC+ in the 2nd half – tied for the worst mark in MLB) at Citi Field on Wednesday. Looks like a good spot for the old man. TREASURE.
Dan Haren – 43.5% owned (+10.2%)
Since this week’s list of most dropped players looks uglier than a real housewife after a botched botox injection, I decided to keep the party going on the most added side. With Colon and Haren as guests, that would mean it’s an afternoon party with bridge and/or pinochle games in progress, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Haren has more than just advancing age in common with Colon though. He also excels at limiting the free pass, with five straight sub-2 BB/9 seasons to his credit, while operating with extremely diminished velocity (86.1 FBv is the 4th lowest among SPs with a minimum of 100 IP). Of course, poor velocity usually means that mistakes travel a long way, as Haren’s league-leading 31 HRs allowed clearly indicate. Things have only gotten worse for Haren in that area in the eight starts since being traded from the Marlins to the Cubs, allowing 10 HRs across 40 2/3 IP. He’s only managed 33 strikeouts (or roughly 4 per start) over that span as well, including 4 or less in six out of those eight starts. Unless pinochle skills is a category in your league, Haren is best left on the waiver wire. TRASH.