Juan Oviedo & Chris Tillman: Deep League WW

Welcome back Self! If you didn’t realize it (admit that you noticed immediately that my highly informative and entertaining posts were suddenly missing from your life), I have been away on vacation for the last 2 weeks. And yes, it was a great time, thanks for asking. Anyway, due to the wonders of the iPhone, I was actually able to keep up with all the baseball happenings for the first time on a vacation. Joining the 21st century is a nice thing. As a result, I found two free agent gems for you deep leaguers!

Juan Oviedo | RP FLA | CBS 7% Owned

For those thinking who the $%&* is Juan Oviedo, this is the artist formerly known as Leo Nunez. Recently, Ozzie Guillen stated that when Oviedo returns in a couple of weeks, he would share the closer role with Heath Bell. Well, Bell then proceeded to allow 3 runs in 0.2 innings after having a strong June for a change, posting a 2.54 xFIP. Aside from those 9.1 innings, Bell has been awful and as long as the Marlins remain reasonably in the playoff hunt, you have to think they will do what’s best for the club to win games. That may not include Bell in the 9th.

That brings us back to Oviedo who saved 92 games for the fish from 2009-2011. Though the ERAs weren’t real pretty, he has shown strong skills at times and would have a reasonable chance of holding down the job. During his best season in 2010, he threw his fastball less and change-up more, which may have led to his best ground ball rate. Every other year he had been an extreme fly ball pitcher, and although his SwStk% rates have always suggested strong K/9 marks, he typically hasn’t posted those. So the fly balls are going to hurt. If he can get back to what he was doing that year, he can be a pretty solid closer. If he hasn’t been scooped up yet in your league, now would be the time since he hasn’t yet returned from his suspension.

Chris Tillman | SP BAL | 15% Owned

I could talk all about Tillman’s historical performance and a look at his first game back in the bigs, but Jack Moore has already done that quite well. There is really one number that makes me most excited about his chances of finally reaching the potential we once thought he had: 94.9. That number is his average fastball velocity during his 2012 Orioles debut and is significantly higher than the velocities he had posted in previous years. That would tie him for third with Jeff Samardzija in average fastball velocity among all starters. The added zip led to a fantastic swinging strike rate, which was double what he averaged in previous years. Of course, this was the Mariners he was facing, who rank ninth to last in K%, and just one start, but obviously that has no bearing on Tillman’s velocity.

Pitching in a tough division and calling a hitter’s ball park home obviously makes life more difficult. However, I cannot stress enough how exciting that velocity is, and if he can sustain even just a 94.0 mile per hour average, then a breakout is looming and he may even enjoy some mixed league value.

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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

5 Responses to “Juan Oviedo & Chris Tillman: Deep League WW”

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  1. Detroit Michael says:

    Anyone know if the raw Pitch F/X velocity readings in Seattle have been accurate this season? I’ve been burned speculating on velocity readings from just one game before.

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    • Matt NW says:

      Felix is almost certainly not getting any help from a hot gun, so I doubt it. Tillman’s scouting reports have been that his velocity is up significantly, looks quite legit.

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  2. Bryan says:

    I asked on a previous Tillman post and I will ask again here b/c I was late to the game on the previous post. Tillman’s monthly AAA splits show great improvement across the board this year. Does anyone know if his velocity has been increasing month to month and might help to explain his improvements or has his velocity been this high all season?

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  3. herve houchoua says:

    Merci pour vos messages Mr Podhorzer .
    Sur les forums de baseball Francais vous etes l expert de référence .
    Nous esperons que vous avez passé de bonnes vacances .

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  4. Matt says:

    You know people never follow patterns. Tillman’s FIP has improved every single year. With that trend in the next couple years he could be a top 30 SP. He’s far more consistent than Brian Matusz.

    Remember when people kept looking at Kershaw’s high WHIP? They didn’t see the trend in that either and just labeled him as wild and may never be more than an outside top 30. Now there’s not even a debate if Kershaw is a top 5 SP.

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