• Roto Riteup: June 25, 2017
    by Justin Mason - 6/25 -  10
    A’s rookies @mattolson21, @bruggy4 and @barreto0227 are FIRST trio of teammates to each hit first career HR in same game in @MLB history. pic.twitter.
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C  -  1B  -  2B  -  SS  -  3B  -  OF  -  SP  -  RP

Bullpen Report: June 25, 2017

Following up on Friday’s Bullpen Report in which we reported that Roberto Osuna was unavailable due to illness, it turns out that it was mental illness. Arden Zwelling of Sportnet passed along the following comments from the Blue Jays closer:

I don’t really know how to explain it. I just feel anxious. I feel like I’m lost a little bit right now. This has nothing to do with me being on the field. I feel great out there. It’s just when I’m out of baseball. When I’m not on the field, I feel just weird and a little bit lost.

Needless to say, Osuna’s mental health should be everyone’s top priority. It was encouraging that he pitched the ninth inning on Sunday with an 8-2 lead. He allowed a two-out single but struck out the side.

Despite the appearance on Sunday, Osuna’s status as the team’s full-time closer remains in doubt for the time being while he works through his personal issues. Ryan Tepera is next in line for saves if Osuna needs to miss additional time.

Matt Bush, who was saddled with a blown save and a loss on Friday, closed out a one-run win over the Yankees on Sunday. With a blazing fastball, he breezed through the first two outs before Aaron Judge singled, and the inning culminated in a battle with Gary Sanchez, who had homered earlier in the game. Despite the drama, Bush struck out Sanchez on a sharp slider off the plate, giving him his ninth save of the season. Things haven’t been easy for Bush as of late: he currently has a troubling 4.55 FIP and 4.34 xFIP. However, Bush has the stuff to be at least an adequate closer, and the projections back that up. Recent struggles aside, Bush still seems to have a grasp on the closer’s role, although Keone Kela is lurking behind him.

Yusmeiro Petit picked up a two-inning save against the Red Sox. The Angels bullpen in general is going through significant change right now, with Bud Norris recently landing on the disabled list and Cam Bedrosian and Huston Street recently returning from injury. Bedrosian looks like the closer moving forward, at least until Norris returns, and Petit probably received the save chance on Sunday because Bedrosian had thrown 30 pitches the previous day. In that 30-pitch outing, Bedrosian allowed two runs on two hits, two walks, and a wild pitch.

Santiago Casilla allowed a home run and a single but picked up his 13th save against the White Sox. Casilla has been shaky all season, and Sunday was no exception. He now has a 4.28 ERA/4.20 FIP/4.75 xFIP in 27.1 innings. On his heels, Sean Doolittle has been outstanding as of late. Doolittle has 22 strikeouts and has allowed just one walk and two homers in 13.2 innings. True, the sample size is minuscule, but Doolittle’s 1.98 ERA/2.04 FIP/1.85 xFIP looks so much better than what Casilla has done this season. If Doolittle can prove that he’s healthy and reliable, it’s conceivable that a change in the pecking order could take place at some point this season.

Alex Colome pitched the top of the ninth in a tie game, and he allowed three runs on two hits, two intentional walks, and a hit batsman. As has been mentioned multiple times in the Bullpen Report this year, Colome’s strikeout rate has fallen back down to earth after he put up impressive numbers in that category last season. But for the most part, he still gets the job done. Despite the 4.40 xFIP this season, he has just a 3.15 ERA and 3.17 FIP, and that same trend (beating his xFIP) has held true throughout his major league career. The projections forecast good things moving forward from Colome as well, so today’s outing looks like just a rare bad one for Colome.

Joe Kelly extended his scoreless streak to 21 consecutive outings dating back to May 1. In that 18.1 inning span, Kelly has a 26.8 percent strikeout rate and 55.6 percent ground ball rate. He’s picked up holds in three of his last four appearances and has nine on the season. Overall, Kelly boasts a 1.10 ERA/3.05 FIP/3.98 xFIP in 32.2 innings this season, but his strikeout rate is projected to increase (it’s just 18.5 percent on the year), and he could be on his way to a sustained and prominent role in the Red Sox ‘pen. He’s bumping Heath Hembree, who has just one hold since May 26, off the grid for now.

Other closer activity: A.J. Ramos picked up a four-out save (12). Brandon Kintzler pitched a perfect ninth in a non-save situation. Brach Brach pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth and was rewarded with a win. Craig Kimbrel allowed a run on two hits and a strikeout in a non-save situation. Raisel Iglesias pitched 1.2 innings to finish off the Nationals in a non-save situation. Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless top of the ninth in a tie game. He struck out one and walked a batter. Brandon Maurer pitched the top of the ninth in a tie game and allowed two runs on two hits and a walk. He has a 6.53 ERA and a 3.86 xFIP. Justin Wilson struck out two in a perfect ninth to notch his sixth save of the season. Kenley Jansen entered with a one-run lead with one out in the eighth, and he ultimately finished off the Rockies in the ninth with a six-run lead. Jansen added to the offensive explosion in the bottom of the eighth with an RBI double off Greg Holland.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
ARI Fernando Rodney Archie Bradley Jorge De La Rosa JJ Hoover
ATL Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino Jose Ramirez
BAL Brad Brach Mychal Givens Richard Bleier Zach Britton
BOS Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Joe Kelly Carson Smith
CHC Wade Davis Koji Uehara Carl Edwards Jr.
CWS David Robertson Tommy Kahnle Anthony Swarzak Nate Jones
CIN Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Drew Storen
CLE Andrew Miller Cody Allen Bryan Shaw
COL Greg Holland Adam Ottavino Jake McGee
DET Justin Wilson Alex Wilson Shane Greene
HOU Ken Giles Will Harris Michael Feliz
KC Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria Mike Minor
LAA Cam Bedrosian David Hernandez Blake Parker Bud Norris
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Luis Avilan Josh Fields
MIA A.J. Ramos David Phelps Kyle Barraclough
MIL Corey Knebel Jacob Barnes Carlos Torres
MIN Brandon Kintzler Matt Belisle Taylor Rogers Glen Perkins
NYM Addison Reed Jerry Blevins Paul Sewald Jeurys Familia
NYY Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard
OAK Santiago Casilla Sean Doolittle Ryan Madson
PHI Hector Neris Pat Neshek Luis Garcia
PIT Felipe Rivero Juan Nicasio Daniel Hudson
STL Seung Hwan Oh Trevor Rosenthal Matt Bowman
SD Brandon Maurer Brad Hand Ryan Buchter Carter Capps
SF Mark Melancon Hunter Strickland George Kontos
SEA Edwin Diaz James Pazos Nick Vincent
TB Alex Colome Danny Farquhar Tommy Hunter Brad Boxberger
TEX Matt Bush Keone Kela Jose Leclerc
TOR Roberto Osuna Ryan Tepera Danny Barnes Joe Smith
WSH Enny Romero Matt Albers Blake Treinen Koda Glover

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

Roto Riteup: June 25, 2017

This was a pretty cool way to start the weekend:


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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 473 – Interesting Arms; Ramos Returning


The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

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Leading Off: Question of the Day

  • Why is it completely acceptable for pitchers to load up before pitching these days?

Strategy Section: Tentative 2-Starts

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Roto Riteup: June 24, 2017

Paul is on vacation this weekend and I will be filling in for him. I assume this is where he is right now:


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Bullpen Report: June 23, 2017

On Friday night, a couple of shaky closers dug their holes deeper, but perhaps the greatest stress was felt by Roberto Osuna‘s owners. The Blue Jays’ closer has been close to automatic since late April, and he was sorely missed as the Toronto bullpen tried to hold a 4-1 lead without him. John Gibbons told Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet that Osuna was unavailable due to illness, so fantasy owners and Blue Jays fans caught of a glimpse of what the ninth inning might look like without their dominant closer.

At least for this one game, it was not pretty. Ryan Tepera, who got the final out of the eighth inning, was brought back for the ninth to get the save. He came within an out of notching his second save of the season, but he was removed after allowing an RBI single to Alcides Escobar. Aaron Loup was summoned to get Alex Gordon out, but instead, he gave up a run-scoring single on the first pitch. Then Gibbons tried Jason Grilli, but he yielded a Whit Merrifield double that brought in Escobar and Gordon, giving the Royals a walk-off win. Read the rest of this entry »

#2xSP (6.26-7.2)

Guh, we are in absolute free fall mode. I’m tryin’ folks! It’s a weird state of affairs with pitching this year, which makes it hard to find anyone worthwhile with a pulse under 50 percent ownership. I won’t quit, though I’ll understand if you tune me out for a bit.

Here’s how we’re doing so far this season (through half of Week 11)

19-19 record
5.22 ERA
7.5 K/9
2.1 K/BB
1.56 WHIP
20 quality starts

Here are this week’s recs (with team wRC+ for this season in parentheses):

RHP Joe Biagini – 6.1% ESPN – v. BAL (93), v. BOS (94)

Up until the last two starts, Biagini had been fairly interesting as a starter. Right now, he’s got a 4.91 ERA, .688 OPS against and 36-11 K/BB ratio in 44 innings as a starter, but two starts ago, here’s what his numbers looked like: 3.38 ERA, 31-9 K/BB ratio in 37.1 innings and a .554 OPS against. I still think he’s interesting, though. First of all, he’s got a couple interesting matchups this week, as both teams aren’t particularly good offensively. Second of all, as a starter, he’s managed to sustain his groundball rate (58.2 percent in the rotation, 58.3 percent as a reliever), which is certainly among the elite rates in the game. He’s also making both of these starts at home, where he has a 2.93 ERA this season as opposed to a 5.66 mark on the road.

RHP Alex Cobb – 33.1% ESPN – @PIT (90), @BAL (93)

Cobb has been so-so in his return to the Rays rotation this season — 4.05 ERA (4.15 FIP), 6.4 K/9 and 1.39 WHIP — but it’s also a matter of an accomplished pitcher against a couple iffy offenses this week. After the Mariners rocked him in his first start of the month, Cobb has been really good over his last three outings: 2.29 ERA in 19.2 innings, 14-5 K/BB ratio and .698 OPS against. Also, just two of his last 11 starts have resulted in more than three earned runs, and he’s posted a 3.76 ERA over that stretch. At the very least, he feels stable, which is what we’re truly seeking here.

RHP Mike Fiers – 41.7% ESPN – v. OAK (98), @NYY (116)

His season numbers — 3.81 ERA, 7.7 K/9, 5.65 FIP and 2.1 HR/9 — don’t do justice of how far he’s come since a brutal start. Fiers headed into Minnesota on May 30 with a 5.21 ERA — having allowed an MLB-worst 18 home runs to that point. Opposing batters were hitting a ridiculous .287/.350/.622 of him to that point. Fiers held the Twins in check that night at Target Field, which started a five-game stretch that has his season back on track. Since then, he’s got a 1.72 ERA, .522 OPS against and 29-11 K/BB ratio in 31.1 innings. Perhaps most importantly, he’s also allowed zero home runs in the meantime. He’ll be put to the test this week, as he’s facing the A’s for the second time in a row and the toughest offense in the game other than his in the Yankees. Still, in a week that isn’t particularly strong pitching-wise, we’ll take a shot with him.

Last two out: Junior Guerra (@CIN, v. MIA) and Mike Clevinger (v. TEX, @DET)

Starting Pitcher Rankings Update (June)

Here is my latest starting pitcher rankings update! Please review the May 18th update for information on the tiers. Keep in mind that this is a narrower focus than just “rest of season” as I’ll be updating these again at the All-Star break. Pitching is just too volatile to have confidence in a single ranking set for more than 4-6 weeks at a time.

Hell, things will probably change this weekend that will make me reconsider some slots, but we can deal with those on a one-off situation. The tiers are what’s important. I’ll reiterate again that the Must-Starts aren’t automatically the best pitchers, but rather the guys that you can’t sit with any confidence (they don’t have a platoon split or home-road split and their track record speaks more than the first three months of this season.

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Rick Porcello: What’s Gone Wrong?

No one expected Rick Porcello to repeat his 2016 Cy Young season besides maybe his mom. And she probably had some doubts. Before the season started, I thought he was getting punished too much especially after some second half changes. So far, I have been wrong with Porcello maintaining his 2016 production with a 3-9 record and a 5.05 ERA. Here’s what has gone wrong.

Less Help

Last season, quite a bit of Porcello’s fantasy value came from his 22 Wins. While 22 Wins was out of the question this season, owners expected more than three. Porcellos has giving up an extra run per game and the Red Sox offense has dropped off.

Last season, they average scoring 5.4 R/G and this season that number has dropped to 4.7 R/G. With the league scoring up, the Red Sox have gone the other direction. Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Sporer Baseball Chat – June 23rd, 2017

Chat transcript is below!


Paul Sporer: Good afternoon!! Let’s talk some baseball. Gotta keep it to a tight hour so I can release my SP ranking update.


Trader Danny: Is my Pollock for his Strasburg defensible?  12 team mix keeper, roughly equal salaries (low 20s), I’m stocked with OF and crushing it in SB but short on SP, most of the other aces are on other contenders.  This makes sense, right?


Paul Sporer: Definitely. Get any ace-level arm you can at a fair cost in this environment


Tiger Love: Castellanos or Avila ROS (position eligibility not important)? 12-team H2H 5×5 OPS league. Thanks.


Paul Sporer: Castellanos, but it’s v close


Casey: Which sides wins this trade–Paxton for Bradley Jr/Tanaka? Thanks.

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Are the Dodgers playing DL games?

On the last MASH report, I discussed Alex Wood’s S/C joint sprain, and many of the commenters claimed it was #FAKENEWS.

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