Author Archive

Here’s Some More Guys Who Can Help You Win

On Friday, Adam McFadden wrote a piece in which he recommended nine players owned in less than 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Adam’s work inspired me to do some digging of my own, and I managed to find some more widely unowned players who could give your team a serious boost down the stretch.

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He’s Back!

Drew Smyly (47%) – Although he looked pretty rusty in his first start since May on Sunday, Smyly needs to be owned pretty much across the board. He was dropped in a ton of leagues when he tore his labrum, to the point where he’s available in over half of Yahoo leagues. Dropping him was understandable, as the Rays initially said he was out for the year, only to retract that statement a week later.

I managed to snag him in a 12-team mixer where he had gone unnoticed on the waiver wire. Maybe you can too.

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The Universally Available Derek Dietrich

Every year, there are players who — for whatever reason — go completely overlooked in fantasy leagues, despite providing solid value. This year is no different. For today’s example, take Derek Dietrich.

The 26-year-old has been highly productive since his call-up in mid-June, hitting a robust .261/.368/.504 with seven homers in 136 plate appearances. However, his ownership rates remain miniscule (1% Yahoo, 1.9% ESPN, 4% CBS).

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This Year’s Most Ridiculous Reno Aces Statistical Inflations

Seeing as my usual Monday beat is second base, I decided to write a piece on minor-league second sackers who could make a fantasy impact down the stretch. As it turns out, that was an entirely fruitless endeavor. There just aren’t any players at the position that I’m excited about for the remainder of 2015, who aren’t already at least on the major-league club.

However, during my 90 minutes or so of dead-end research, I noticed Danny Worth’s shockingly productive stat line. In case you forgot, Worth is that guy the Tigers would always call up for some reason in each of the last five seasons, despite the fact that he owns a career .230/.293/.295 slash in 292 major-league plate appearances.

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Rest-of-Season Showdown – Ian Kinsler vs. Neil Walker

It’s been a rough year for Ian Kinsler and Neil Walker, in very similar ways. Neither is having trouble getting on base, as both have batting averages in the .270s and on-base percentages around .340. The problem is that both Kinsler and Walker have suffered through season-long power outages, severely diminishing each man’s fantasy value.

On the year, Kinsler is the No. 10 fantasy 2B, with Walker slotting in at 13th. However, both have heated up in the month of July, with Kinsler posting an .843 OPS, and Walker sitting at .885 (neither had even broken the .750 mark in any of the season’s first three months). Walker has launched three of his seven 2015 homers since the calendar turned over from June.

Kinsler only has one long ball this month, but he’s also hit two near-homers that struck the top half of the wall, and has a total of six extra-base hits. With both players finally showing signs of power production, let’s take a look at who you’d rather have on your fantasy team rest-of-season.

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Mid-Season Review of Scott Strandberg’s Bold Predictions

With the All-Star break upon us, this is as good a time as any to take a midseason look back at my 2015 bold predictions. My goal with these is to bat somewhere around .300, which is exactly what I did last year.

Get too many right, and the predictions probably weren’t bold enough for the nature of these columns. Swing and miss on all ten? Probably need to dial back the predictive aggressiveness next time. With that in mind, let’s see how I’ve done so far this year…

1. Jorge Soler is a top-ten outfielder.

Not a chance. Soler got off to a slow start, hitting just four homers before landing on the disabled list with an ankle injury in early June. The 23-year-old just returned last week, after more than a month on the DL. At this point, there’s no hot streak in the world that would make this prediction a reality.

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What to Make of Rougned Odor Rest-of-Season?

You really can’t start a season much worse than Rougned Odor began 2015. The 21-year-old was so extremely bad that the Rangers sent him back down to Triple-A in early May, hoping he could figure out how to hit baseballs, which is a pretty important part of being a professional baseball player.

I wrote about Odor in late April, discussing how his poor start was really just a continuation of the way he ended 2014. As last season went on, Odor became a highly undisciplined hitter against offspeed pitches, and he began this year in the exact same fashion.

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2015 Second Base Tier Rankings: July

With July nearly upon us, it’s tier time here at Rotographs. Following up on my previous themes of Kurt Russell movies and vacation destinations, I have decided to assign hard rock bands to this month’s tiers. This idea came to me at about 3am on Friday night, and I haven’t thought of anything better, so here we go.

Before we get into it, please fight off the temptation to flood the comments section with “DUDE YOU DIDN’T RANK [insert band here] WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU” posts. I’ve only got seven tiers to cover the very broad genre of ‘hard rock,’ and I had to save two of them for Creed and Nickelback. Give me a break.

TIER ONE – LED ZEPPELIN
Brian Dozier
Jose Altuve
Jason Kipnis
Dee Gordon

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Fantasy Stash Candidate: Rob Refsnyder

At this time of the season, it’s a good idea for those of you in deep leagues to have a couple of second-half sleepers on your roster. Seeing as I cover the second-base beat here at Rotographs, I’ve identified a promising youngster with the potential for significant playing time at the keystone going forward.

One of the crucial aspects of identifying these players is finding holes on major-league rosters. So, seeing as we’re talking about second base, let’s discuss the Yankees. The days when Stephen Drew seemed like a legitimate major-league baseball player seem like ages ago, as the hapless second-sacker has followed up last year’s hilariously inept .162/.237/.299 season with a not-much-better .178/.239/.372. At least he’s hitting some homers, but that still hasn’t been enough to make him even a replacement-level player.

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Buying Logan Forsythe

I’ve been optimistic about Logan Forsythe all year, recommending him to AL-only owners back in April, when he was virtually unowned in fantasy leagues. This month, I ranked him 18th rest-of-season at second base, a significant jump up from where I had him in May (No. 26). I should have bumped him up higher.

One factor that has Forsythe’s stock on the rise is his production, plain and simple. The 28-year-old followed up a .282/.370/.465 April with a .297/.368/.465 May — an .835 OPS followed by .834. That’s consistency. He’s not showing many signs of slowing down either, as he’s already launched two bombs in the first week of June.

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2015 Second Base Tier Rankings: June

Check out last month’s rankings here.

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No more bland, rote tiers from this guy! Thanks to the urging of commenter “Urban Shocker,” my eyes are now open to the fun that can be had with ridiculously labeled tiers. You see, I used to just write these monthly second-base columns with boring old numbered tiers. That is, until Urban Shocker convinced me in the comments section of my April rankings to name my tiers from then on.

To be perfectly honest, the task of doing these monthly rankings can get rather stale — for both me and you — as the season wears on. Eventually, it gets to the point where the rankings barely change, because 30-day samples don’t substantially change the way I/we think about a certain player.

Furthermore, there’s only so many ways I can say “Jose Altuve had a good month again,” or “Dee Gordon steals lots of bases,” or “Holy crap, Dan Uggla is so incredibly terrible!” (Actually, never mind on that last one. I will never get sick of making jokes about Uggla, who got paid $13 million last year to post a weighted offense 72% below league-average.)

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