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Roto Riteup: October 1, 2012

With apologies to the dear reader(s), I have been quite ill for the past few days. That being said, a pack of wild Kate Uptons couldn’t keep me away from the last three days of baseball action.

• If it seems like I just wrote about Brett Lawrie hitting a home run, it’s because I did. That being said, Lawrie hit another home run yesterday during his three hit game and he boosted his slugging over .400 for the season. It is a far cry from the .580 SLG that he displayed in 2011, but as previously stated, I’m still high on him for 2013.

Coco Crisp nabbed base number 38 yesterday and is sporting his third straight season of having a wRC+ over 100 or more. Despite getting up there in age, Crisp hasn’t lost a step on the base paths yet. He has been caught just 15 times against 119 stolen bases since 2010. It will be very interesting to see what ZiPS projects for him next season. Without knowing his projection, I am still cautiously optimistic that Crisp can top 30 steals again next year at a fairly low cost.

• The give-and-take of B.J. Upton continues. Even before his two home run game yesterday, Upton has set a career high in both HR and K’s. He is now just two home runs away from a 30-30 season, but with a potentially sub .300 on-base percentage. Perhaps someone smarter than I can do a list of “least valuable 30-30 season.” And yet I digress. As far as fantasy purposes go, Upton remains a baffling case. His stolen base and home run upside make him a rare and valuable commodity, but his poor AVG and OBP hurt his over all runs scored and chances to steal. If he gets traded over the off season, what park he lands at could play a pivotal role in how I address his draft stock.

• Speaking on intriguing fantasy options next year, where Carlos Beltran is drafted is off great interest to me too. He also hit two home runs yesterday and now has 32 homers on the year. This is his first 30 home run campaign since 2007, but Beltran is striking out at a career high pace. He is only three RBI’s from another 100 RBI season — his first since 2008. Health has played a key role in his success, as he has reached 600 plate appearances for the first time also since 2008. That is exhibit A as to why arbitrary cutoffs can be misleading, as Beltran put up 598 PA’s last year. Assuming he is healthy, Beltran can still be an amazingly productive fantasy contributor.

• I don’t know what kind of day you had yesterday, but Mike Fiers had one wild start on Sunday. The good: he went six innings, struck out 10 and only allowed six hits and one walk. The bad news: four of the hits that he allowed sailed over the fence for home runs. The resulting ERA/FIP/xFIP pitching line made for a rather humorous 7.50/8.94/2.47 for the day. Come next season, I’ll be flying high on Fiers. I like what I see in his K%, but I wonder if his K-rate will drop as his SwStr% is actually below average. His extreme fly ball rates won’t do him any favors in Miller Park either, but even after his four home run outing, his HR/9 and HR/FB are still both below average. If other people are scared off of Fiers, that is fine by me.

Yasmani Grandal hit home run number eight on the season yesterday. Even though he has only garnered 212 PA’s this season, his WAR stands at an impressive 2.3. His triple slash is now a strong .293/.389/.473 and his wRC+ is up to 142. Given his strong offensive showing and his catcher eligibility, Grandal makes for a tantalizing pick come next year. His combination of youth, position, and offensive ceiling has me considering not punting catcher and making a play for him.

For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here are a couple matchups you may be able to exploit.

A Pitcher for Today: Josh Johnson vs NYM
Johnson is allowing a home triple slash of .232/.294/.317 thus far this year. That favors very well against a Mets team that has scored the sixth fewest runs since the start of September.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Bud Norris at CHC
I like Bud Norris and his 22.7 K% (which translates to a 8.93 K/9) against a Cubs team that strikeouts at the fifth highest rate in the NL.

A Hitter for Today: Chris Carter vs TEX (Martin Perez)
Although Brandon Moss has gotten more PA’s in recent days against left-handed pitching, Carter is due to play. Carter hits lefties very well and I expect him to have a great day at the plate. Of course, if he doesn’t play, plug in Moss in his place.