Author Archive

Stream, Stream, Stream: 2x SP 5.5-5.11

First a look at the running totals through half of week four:

8-4 record
3.44 ERA
8.6 K/9
2.9 K/BB
1.15 WHIP

Not a bad start. Here’s a look at this week’s recs, with team wOBA in parentheses:

LHP Jon Niese – 12.1% ESPN/16% Yahoo!/68% CBS (52% start) – @ MIA (.327), v. PHI (.305) Read the rest of this entry »

Stream, Stream, Stream: 2x SP 4.28-5.4

Here are the stats so far through two-and-a-half trips through:

7-2 record
3.22 ERA
8.8 K/9
2.7 K/BB
1.17 WHIP

This week’s bunch is a pair of left-handers and one righty, and has brought about a potential semantics change for this column. It can be very difficult to find pitchers with three ownership figures in the sub-50 percent range, so it’s the opinion of the author that two out of three should suffice. If any grievance should be felt on this, feel free to air it in the comments section below. Thank you. -BW

Onto this week’s picks:

LHP Tyler Skaggs – 16.8% ESPN/23% Yahoo!/72% CBS (40% start) – v. CLE, v. TEX Read the rest of this entry »

Stream, Stream, Stream: 2x SP 4.21-4.27

Halfway through week two, here we are:

2.67 ERA
9.5 K/9
3.2 K/BB
1.13 WHIP

I think that’s about the best one could expect so far. Regression is coming though, right? I wanted badly to recommend Garrett Richards for this week (@WAS, @NYY), but his ownership rates in CBS leagues (76 percent) are far too high for me to appeal to my unwritten rule that at least two of the three leagues have to be under 50 percent (between Yahoo!/ESPN/CBS Sports).

So here’s who you get this week:

RHP Zach McAllister – 2.6% ESPN/9% Yahoo!/43% CBS – v. KC, @SF Read the rest of this entry »

Stream, Stream, Stream: 2x SP 4.14-4.20

After last week’s veteran love fest, I’ve chosen to live a bit more on the edge with this go-round. This week’s bunch is a trio of far less proven guys.

Through half of week one, here are the stats:
3-0 record
4.00 ERA
6.5 K/9
1.2 K/BB
1.61 WHIP

So….not great, with the exception of the won-loss column. Good record though so far.

Onto this week’s recommendations:

RHP Jesse Chavez – 0.6% ESPN/7% Yahoo!/31% CBS – @LAA, v. HOU Read the rest of this entry »

Stream, Stream, Stream: 2x SP 4.7-4.13

Year three of 2xSP rolls on with a pair of lefties and a veteran righty. As a procedural note, the ticker will be back again this year. Any tweaks that you’d like to see? Feel free to share below.

LHP Scott Kazmir – 16.8% ESPN – @MIN, @SEA

Quite frankly it’s completely stunning that Kazmir qualifies for this list at all, but here we are. And the skepticism on Kazmir isn’t totally unfounded; this is a guy who couldn’t find the strike zone with a GPS unit for three full seasons, and before that was still only marginal in that department. But for my fantasy dollars, he is who he was in Cleveland last year until he proves he isn’t. The A’s know pitching, and Kaz was solid the first time out against the Indians. With these two matchups this week, I think it’d be foolish not to take a look at the lefty. Read the rest of this entry »

Scoresheet Season Three: Both Leagues, BP Kings

The 2014 season marks the third year that I’ve played in the BP Kings — named for a previous affiliation with Baseball Prospectus — Scoresheet league. I’ve learned a considerable amount along the way, and hope that this year will be the first that I can hold my own in a league chock full of experts. Last year didn’t go very well, as I finished below .500 in my first full season alone at the helm of a club.

The league roster carries some veritable hard-hitters in the fantasy community. The list includes Jeff Erickson, Al Melchior, Bret Sayre, Nando DiFino, Matthew Pouliot, D.J. Short, Beardley Woodbeard (Woodrum), Todd Zola, Pete McCarthy, Ben Murphy, Brady Gardiner, Brent S. Gambill, David Laurila, David Wiers, Rob McQuown, Casey Stern, Nate Stephens, and yours truly*.

*not a hard hitter

For those unfamiliar with Scoresheet, you’re permitted to keep up to 10 players in a league that more or less mirrors actual, real-life roster construction. Players that are designated as big leaguers cost you picks up front (one per round), while players with the minors designation — as I recall, rookie eligible — cost you back end picks in a 35 round draft. Supplementals take place throughout the season, allowing teams to add bullpen arms, utility players, and the occasional sleeper, as well as newly minted draft picks as the summer rolls on. Read the rest of this entry »

Brandon Warne’s Ten Bold Predictions

I’ll spare you my typically wordy, self promoting intro that usually goes here. In no particular order:

1. The Minnesota Twins finish near .500.

Right off the top I know this one sounds crazy, but hear me out. As I wrote elsewhere, not only does bringing in Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes help stabilize the rotation, but at this very second in spring training pitchers who threw nearly 400 innings for the club last year are battling for the No. 5 spot in the rotation (Vance Worley, Scott Diamond, Samuel Deduno, and Kyle Gibson). That represents nearly 45 percent of innings thrown by Twins starters last year. Read the rest of this entry »

So You’re Thinking About Taking Billy Hamilton…

An extraordinarily polarizing player in drafts this year is Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton. Especially so in 5×5 and traditional leagues, where one could make the argument where Hamilton is almost a Babe Ruth-like talent.

Wait, what?

Well, it’s true. Sort of. Hamilton stole 88 bases between Triple-A and the majors last year. He swiped an ungodly 155 between three levels the year before that. In 2011, 103.

Last year, 12 teams stole over 100 bases, with just four over 120. Hamilton alone — in a best-case scenario, that is — could find himself on that list if the Reds let him run wild.

So while calling him a Ruthian talent is certainly hyperbolic, he’s the kind of talent that alone would easily win a category outright in those traditional style leagues.

Maybe *could* is a better word that would, though. Read the rest of this entry »

Exit Sandman: No Mo, No Problem? Well, Maybe Not Quite

The Yankees bullpen will have a drastically different look in 2014, if for no other reason than that the back end will be propped up by someone other than Mariano Rivera for the first time since 1997. Think about that for a second: Rivera is the bridge from John Wetteland to David Robertson.

Rivera isn’t the only one gone from a bullpen which ranked 20th in ERA, 26th in FIP, but 6th in K/9. Also gone from last year are Joba Chamberlain — addition by subtraction, in the eyes of most Yankees fans — and Boone Logan — just plain subtraction — as well as even David Huff, whose 34.2 innings as a swingman aren’t completely insignificant.

The Yankees didn’t pour any money into the bullpen in the offseason, instead focusing on adding Masahiro Tanaka and retaining Hiroki Kuroda in to an otherwise ordinary rotation. This means that the club will likely have to find somewhere between 150-200 innings out of guys who were non-factors for the Bombers in 2013. That is, previous lower-tier guys as well as minor league fill-ins.

The Closer

David Robertson (9.9 K/9, 2.97 ERA, 35 saves via 2014 Steamer Projections)

After six straight years of 10.0-plus K/9, for some reason Steamer thinks Robertson will take a slight step back as he inherits the closer’s role. It certainly won’t be easy to replace immortality, but in reality Robertson has been nails from the get-go, with a career K/9 of 11.7, an ERA of 2.76, and FIPs that are more or less exactly in line with it. Robertson missed a few less bats last year — still a solid 10.5 per 9 — but found some extra grounders en route to an outstanding 2.04 ERA. To me, Steamer is a bit down on a guy who I think has a shot to be an elite closer right out of the gate. This Yankees team may not be amazing, but I think they’ll be good enough for me to take the over on Steamer’s 35 saves projection. Robertson is legit. Read the rest of this entry »

Rays Infield 2014: More of the Same (In a Good Way)

With the exception of catcher, the Rays bring back the entirely same infield unit from the 2013 season. It’s a fantastic group defensively, but for all intents and purposes there are only two strong fantasy factors.

The Starting Unit

1B James Loney (2014 Steamer Projection .271/.328/.398 | .316 wOBA)

Loney is not one of the strong fantasy factors, though his rebound last year was nothing short of, well, what the Rays do with guys like him. To that end, re-upping with the Rays might have been the smart move. The .299/.348/.430 line from last year is nice, if a bit short on thump for a first baseman, and doesn’t quite tell the whole story. Loney was awesome in the first half (.315/.366/.466), and rather pedestrian in the second (.276/.322/.378). More befuddling yet is that he had a .291 wOBA at home (.261 BABIP), and a .385 mark on the road (.391 BABIP). Projection systems seem to think Loney’s slated for a bit of a bump, but to me there are a lot of entanglements here. My guess is the Rays view him as a +2.5-3.0 win first baseman — largely because I think his defense is viewed in a more positive light than metrics suggest — and that a little regression offensively can be withstood as long as he doesn’t fall back into the 2012 abyss. For my money, he has to hit more like 2013 — or his 2014 Oliver — to even merit back-end consideration in deep leagues. Read the rest of this entry »