Author Archive

The Padres Infield: Can One Man Bounce Back?

The San Diego Padres’ fantasy outlook may be looking up. While the team isn’t in contention yet, there are some promising players who could slowly change the team’s fortunes. The fact that they aren’t there yet means that the team’s fantasy assets are going to be readily available through most of the draft. Even the best offensive player on the club comes with a significant question mark this year. Though owners won’t be taking Padres early, there’s plenty of late upside on the team’s infield.

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Has Age Caught Up to Joe Nathan?

Tigers closer Joe Nathan once again finds himself in a desirable fantasy situation. By moving from Texas to Detroit, Nathan gets to close for another contending club. Nathan is also coming off one of the finest seasons of his career. Over 64.2 innings, Nathan posted a 1.39 ERA with 43 saves. In most cases, fantasy owners would be comfortable relying on that closer the following year. In Nathan’s case, his age is starting to get worrisome. Nathan will be 39 when the season begins, and he’ll need to defy Father Time if he wants to continue posting excellent numbers.

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Is Dan Haren Due for a Bounce Back?

Dan Haren got off to a rough start in 2013. After coming off a questionable 2012, it was starting to look like Haren was cooked. A phantom trip to the disabled list in late June seemed like a last ditch effort to save Haren’s year. It worked, as Haren posted a 3.29 ERA over his last 15 starts. Haren’s 4.69 ERA doesn’t exactly tell the whole story of his season, which potentially makes him undervalued this season. But is that actually the case?

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Julio Teheran Breaks Out

Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran finally lived up to his promise last season. The 22-year-old had been knocking at the door for two years, but couldn’t seem to fall into a full-time role. When he finally got his chance, Teheran didn’t disappoint. In his first season as a starter, Teheran tossed 185.2 innings with a 3.20 ERA, and a 3.69 FIP. There were some big questions about Teheran’s ability to pitch in the majors, particularly after 2012 saw him post a +5.00 ERA in Triple-A. One of those issues was still present last season, and is really the only reason to be concerned about Teheran moving forward.

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Jose Fernandez Ready For Year Two

Jose Fernandez made the Miami Marlins watchable last season. Given that the team won just 62 games, and was without Giancarlo Stanton for some time, that’s quite a task. At age-20, Fernandez somewhat quietly turned in one of the most impressive pitching performances we’ve seen in years. On a team full of questionable talent, Fernandez emerged as a symbol of hope for the franchise. Now comes the hard part. Fernandez will have to prove that he’s capable of doing it again. While there’s always a significant risk involved in putting too much stock in young pitchers, Fernandez has already put himself on an excellent path.

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Starling Marte Trying to Beat BABIP

Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Starling Marte shattered expectations in 2013. The 24-year-old had a breakout season, hitting .280/.343/.441, and posting a .344 wOBA. Marte’s contributions went beyond his slash line, as he also stole 41 bases despite missing 27 regular season games with a hand injury. Due to his emergence, Marte is sure to see his fantasy stock soar in the coming months. While what he did last season was impressive, expecting a repeat would be foolish.

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Age is Just a Number for Torii Hunter

Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter continues to churn out effective seasons despite his age. The 38-year-old outfielder may no longer be in his prime, but that didn’t stop him from ranking 17th among outfielder in Zach Sanders’ end of season rankings. Hunter has always been slightly underrated in fantasy leagues, initially due to his strong defensive reputation. He continues to be underrated, now due to his age. The past few seasons, Hunter has paid off as a late-round fantasy flyer. As with most aging players, the major question is; how long can he keep this up?

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Elvis Andrus: Offensive Offense

Elvis Andrus continues to be more than an adequate fantasy shortstop. This may come as a surprise, considering Andrus is known far more for his glove work, and not his bat. Yet, even in a down offensive season, Andrus still ranked third among shortstops in Zach Sanders’ end of season rankings. If anything, this shows how low the bar has been set for shortstop production in fantasy. Most of Andrus’ fantasy production comes from two areas, his ability to score runs and steal bases. In every other area, Andrus’ offense has been lacking. Often lost in the shuffle is the fact that Andrus broke into the majors at age-20. Given that he’s going to be 25, there’s still a chance for an offensive breakout.

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Martin Prado is Acceptable

Diamondbacks third baseman Martin Prado continues to be a useful fantasy asset. After emerging as a full-time player at age-25, Prado has a solid, but not spectacular option in the infield. There’s no one skill where Prado is outstanding. He consistently hits for a high enough average, provides moderate power and scores a fair amount of runs. He’s mainly been effective up the middle, where his overall numbers play much better. While Prado should retain second base eligibility in most leagues after playing 32 games at the position, his offensive performance was slightly down after a fine walk year. For a player who doesn’t provide elite statistics in any specific area, Prado could be hit harder than others once he experiences age-related decline.

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Is Rickie Weeks a bounce-back candidate?

Rickie Weeks continues to be one of fantasy baseball’s most frustrating players. While he was one of the best offensive second baseman in 2010 and 2011, injuries and ineffectiveness have marred his numbers every other season. Weeks did little to silence his critics in 2013, putting up a career-worst .299 wOBA. His struggles couldn’t have come at a worse time, as Scooter Gennett proved to be an intriguing player despite some luck-aided numbers. Weeks will enter his age-31 season at the nadir of his value. Does that make him a buy-low?

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