Roto Riteup: May 10, 2013

Today’s Roto Riteup is being written while the present author enjoys the latest album from The Wonder Years named The Greatest Generation. If any reader enjoys pop punk, then adding The Wonder Years to your music library is essential.

On today’s agenda:
1. The return of Michael Bourn
2. Replacing A.J. Pierzynski
3. Surprising starts from yesterday

The return of Michael Bourn
Yesterday the Cleveland Indians announced the return of Michael Bourn from the 15-day disabled list. Now that he is back, Bourn is an automatic every day starter. He currently has just one steal but expect that to change quickly. One should feel comfortable counting on Bourn for 30 steals the rest of the way as well as a good amount of runs. The Indians offense has scored a top 10 number of runs and lead baseball with a team 121 wRC+. Despite the missed time, to see Bourn end the season with 80 runs wouldn’t be absurd.

Replacing A.J. Pierzynski
With the Texas Rangers placing Pierzynski on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique strain, many of us are searching for a temporary fix at the catcher position. Catcher isn’t an especially deep position — which is generally why the author tends to punt catcher in a draft and stream players — but there are some decent options out there, at least for a short term. Our very own Howard Bender has recently ranked the catcher position and the author urges the reader to read Howard’s fine work. The names that should be widely available that intrigue the present author the most are Jordan Pacheco or A.J. Ellis and Chris Iannetta in OBP leagues.

Surprising starts from yesterday
We are still waiting for the other shoe to drop with Jeremy Guthrie, but once again he worked his way around base runners.  He now has moved to 5-0 on the year with a 2.28 ERA. His 93.2% LOB% won’t last forever and his 4.59 and 4.23 xFIP predict that he is mostly getting the job done with smoke and mirrors. Guthrie won’t rack up the strikeouts, but in favorable match ups he is a good stream candidate. It would be hard to roster him in standard 12-team mixed leagues, but in deep leagues he may be worth a spot as his velocity is still strong and he is mixing more change-ups and sliders into his repertoire. That he is now posting the best GB% of his life may have some signal-to-noise issues, but more ground balls is a good thing.

Scott Kazmir mowed down the Oakland A’s for six innings and recorded 10 strikeouts along the way yesterday evening. He did allow a home run, but that was the only run he allowed and one of five hits — not to mention zero walks — that he surrendered. With 25 strikeouts against six walks on the season, Kazmir is looking like he deserves to be streamed in most leagues. His fastball average over 93 mph and even touched 96 several times. The A’s aren’t shy when it comes to strikeouts, but to not allow one walk to the team with the highest walk rate in baseball is encouraging. His 4.36 ERA is inflated compared to his 3.34 xFIP, and while there are concerns regarding his penchant for giving up the long ball, Kazmir appears to once again be an effective — not to mention fantasy relevant — big league pitcher. He still falls into the “stream candidate” realm, but one should feel fine streaming him in decent match ups or in pitcher friendly parks.

In one of the late games (imagine the author angrily shaking his fist for 10:05 start times), Patrick Corbin handed in 6.1 innings of one run ball. He only struck out four, but allowed just six base runners in comparison. The good news is that his 1.75 ERA is great. The bad news is that his ERA-to-xFIP difference now stands at a full 2.00 runs. Perhaps Corbin sacrificed his strikeout rate to the BABIP gods. The author last suggested to sell high on Corbin and that stance hasn’t changed. His ERA and WHIP are being suppressed by a combination of a low BABIP as well as an unsustainably low HR/FB rate.

In order of confidence for their respective rest-of-season numbers, the author prefers Kazmir, Corbin, and then Guthrie.




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34 Responses to “Roto Riteup: May 10, 2013”

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  1. KMen says:

    I posted a question here once before and it got answered the next day (in a MASH report), so I’m going to try that again. This time I’m wondering about Dan Haren. He’s strung together a few quality-ish starts in a row now, and his velocity this year is back close enough to his 2011 levels that it shouldn’t really be the cause of any problems. But, his xFIP has remained well above 4.00, and his SwStr% has dropped to well below career levels.

    Is this a “sell high” time for Haren owners, to hope to catch somebody else who thinks he’s turned a corner when he really hasn’t and just get whatever value for him that you can, or would you give him more time to see if his skills do end up coming around?

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    • FeslenR says:

      If someone will bite on Haren, sure try and trade him now. It all depends on your needs of course.

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    • David Wiers says:

      He is currently on a five year SwStr% slide, so yeah, I would probably abandon ship at this point. I really liked Haren in the preseason as a bounce back guy, but I don’t think we’ll ever see the old Haren. He still has value, but I would look to exploit that remaining value.

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  2. tennyson says:

    All those third person references are annoying.

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    • bballislife17 says:

      Yeah several of the FG authors are writing that way now. The commenter feels that the novelty wears off as more people do it.

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      • MikeP says:

        This commenter agrees with the previous two commenters’ comments on the present author’s writing style. Only Rickey is allowed to refer to himself in the third person.

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      • NashvilleHokie says:

        Gary Sheffield disagrees. Gary Sheffield says that if you treat Gary Sheffield like a man, Gary Sheffield is a great teammate. Gary Sheffield says he learned to be an illeist from the greatest of all time.

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      • David Wiers says:

        Gary Sheffield? What an odd way of spelling Rickey Henderson.

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      • Al says:

        This reader is thinking that Professor Cistulli may be a bad influence on many of the more impressionable writers in the FanGraphs stable.

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  3. KJ says:

    Another noteworthy pitching appearance was Vogelsong getting lit up yet again, now the worst #s among qualified starters. Or maybe not noteworthy as it’s been in line with this year. When does it stop becoming a SSS and start becoming a move to the bullpen?

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  4. Dom says:

    I need some independent advice. My brother and I are a close 1-2 in a 12 team keeper league with the rest of the league at least 15 points back. I could use hitting, he could use pitching. Would an AJ Burnette for Nelson Cruz trade be easily defendable as an even trade straight up? Would such an alliance to fend off the rest of the field be against fantasy morals/ethics?

    Both appear to be able to maintain their current performances based on xFIP and BABIP. I’m looking for a downside for either team or a potential argurment from other owners. Thanks!

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    • Matt says:

      I’ve been in the same fantasy league as my brother for over 20 years, and we have made several trades over that time. If the trade passes the sniff test – and this one does for me, easily – then the fact that you are brothers is irrelevant. If the trade benefits you both, then I would suggest that the trade has done what it should. I don’t think you need to defend that to the league, per se.

      If you are concerned about blowback (and I don’t think you need to be) then perhaps you could offer Burnett to the league as a whole for 24 hours. If nobody offers more than Cruz, then you take the deal you have with your brother. This really eliminates any chance for an owner to piss and moan since you provided everyone with an opportunity to get involved. It becomes difficult for an owner to argue collusion when you take Cruz and your best alternative offer was Vernon Wells.

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  5. David Wiers says:

    I’d rather have Cruz RoS over Burnett.

    From this point forward, Cruz could give 20 home runs and 70 RBIs, whereas Burnett’s ERA is only going to go up. I also don’t trust Burnett’s current strikeout rate, I think that will dip back to career norm levels.

    I doubt your league would be up in arms and protest it, but I’d be puzzled (and send a league-wide bitingly sarcastic email) out regarding a Cruz for Burnett 1-for-1 deal.

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    • Matt says:

      I’m going to disagree with your idea to send a ‘league-wide bitingly sarcastic email’. I think that fantasy sports are built around disagreement of player valuation, and it is not one person’s right to criticize other owners for not sharing the same opinion.

      Or, if you do decide to send critical emails, at least have the courage to apologize to the league when you are wrong.

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      • David Wiers says:

        I think that if you are in a long term league with famy and friends and you *don’t* routinely send snarky emails to each other then something is wrong.

        No one should take a friends/family league so seriously as to take offense to an email.

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  6. Jack says:

    That album by The Wonder Years is so good. It’s cool to see that they didn’t play it safe despite their rise in popularity over the last few years.

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  7. First Time Poster says:

    The WOnder Years are fantastic. You should also check out ‘Set Your Goals’, ‘Can’t Bear this Party’, ‘Kid Liberty’, and ‘Chunk, No Captain Chunk’.

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    • David Wiers says:

      Not a huge SYG fan, but other pop punk bands I dig are Three Cent Cinema, The Dangerous Summer, Man Overboard, I Call Fives, and Fireworks. Love seeing all of those guys live.

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  8. twac00 says:

    In a 5×5 H2H non-keeper league would you rather trade Wright and Fister for Verlander and Peavy or Verlander and Homer Bailey? I have Machado to replace Wright. Peavy’s been better so far, but is his health still a concern?

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    • David Wiers says:

      I’d rather hold on to Wright and Fister, really. If you need pitching help, then Verlander and PEavy is the way to go. I don’t have a ton of faith left in Homer Bailey.

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      • twac00 says:

        I have Shields, Fister, Milone, Guthrie, Niese, and Corbin. I’m doing pretty good with pitching. The guy I’m trading with really wants Wright and since I have Machado I could afford to use him to upgrade. What about a trade for Harper involving Wright and either Austin Jackson or Fowler?

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      • David Wiers says:

        Do you have good relievers? I only ask because you might want to make a move for Verlander to grab that uptick in strikeouts.

        I’m higher on Austin Jackson than just about anyone around, so I don’t think I’d give him + Wright for Harper.

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      • twac00 says:

        I have Kimbrel, Tazawa, and Jansen. I also have Madson on the DL.

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  9. Brad Johnson says:

    Sold high on Corbin as part of a deal for JUpton, Kipnis, and Hardy. The latter two have 6 HR since I acquired them.

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  10. ajax says:

    How do you think Samardzija and Harvey compare for ROS? The Cubs won’t let the shark get a win. So I’m thinking about sending him and Wil Myers to my league’s resident prospect-phile in exchange for Harvey. But then I realized Harvey may have trouble with the Ws too. Is he enough of an upgrade in other areas to be worth it?

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    • David Wiers says:

      That is a lot to pay for Harvey. He is very good, don’t get me wrong, but Myers could great and I really like Samardzija. This is a keeper league I assume?

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      • ajax says:

        Yeah its a keeper league. Myers could be great, but will he? Only 3 HRs and K’ing 29% of the time so far this year have me wondering. I guess I should say I’m feeling pretty confident about my team, so I’m in win-now mode. We also have tight rosters, so not being able to use Myers’ spot is annoying me a little. But maybe I just need to suck it up and be patient.

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  11. Chippchipp says:

    Hey David,
    Who would you start in a H2H points league next week: Moustakas (@LAA, @OAK) or Alexei (@MIN, @LAA)? Moustakas seems to be heating up, and he has hit a lot of HRs in the last few days. If it helps, Alexei has been worth 63 points to date and Moustakas 62.

    Also, would you start Cashner vs. WAS or EJax vs. NYM? Or start both and bench Cain @ COL?

    Thanks!

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    • David Wiers says:

      I’d rather start Alexei. Moustakas is the better player, but Minnesota’s pitching has been pretty bad. Their FIP is middle of the pack, but the Twins have the second lowest strikeout rate and the 25th best xFIP.

      I’d rather start Cashner and Ejax over Cain in Colorado.

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      • Chippchipp says:

        All right, thanks. However, Moustakas has now hit HRs in three straight games, and despite his struggles has been worth as much as Alexei.

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  12. Daniel says:

    I came here while listening to The Wonder Years!

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