Paul turns to breakout stud Tyson Ross and returns to old favorite Kole Calhoun.
My DraftKings plays of the day for Friday, August 15th.
PITCHING Tyson Ross ($9,400 SD at STL) – Ross has emerged as a fantasy stud this year. After battling home/road split issues earlier this season, he’s worked his road ERA down to 3.48 by allowing two or fewer earned runs in each of his past four roadies, including one in Coors. He has been a bona fide ace at home, taking full advantage of Petco Park to the tune of a 1.94 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP and 9.4 K/9 in 88 1/3 innings. The Cardinals offense can’t get on track this year with a .677 OPS against righties, good for 21st in the league. It’s down to .657 in the second half, also slotting 21st in the league.
Are the Diamondbacks screwing up pitchers? And is our usual approach to those questions the right one?
I remember on Opening Day, when Brandon McCarthy was facing the Giants, and it seemed like he might just be the Cy Young front-runner. He struck out all three batters in the first. He got the Giants in order on seven pitches in the second. His curveball was lethal, and his fastball
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How much of Danny Duffy's breakout season can be traced to James Shields?
On July 21st, the Royals dropped to eight games below the Tigers, following a fourth consecutive loss. The negativity that so often envelopes Kansas City baseball returned. Fans checked prospect lists rather than the standings in preparation for the trade deadline, and some even rationalized that a fruitful haul would be preferable to a spot in the Wild Card game. That and other beliefs about this year's team have since been challenged, as the Royals have claimed first place after winning 17 of their past 21 games.
Seeing the best amateurs in the nation play in the Perfect Game All American Classic last weekend in San Diego proved to be quite the preview for the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft. Nine prep pitchers touched 95 mph or higher, including San Clemente (CA) senior Kolby Allard, who put his name in neon lights high above the amateur landscape, partly because of a velocity bump to the mid-90s. That’s just one example of what occurred while the players were centered up in the MLB Network lenses. But in spending time up close with the prospects at the workouts, the meals, the awards banquet and the Rady Children’s Hospital visit, it was easy to see there were many who had solid and diverse foundations provided by families and coaches at home.
And if you coaches wonder how quickly the seeds you have planted, nurtured with baseball wisdom and guidance, might blossom, then many of these athletes were an indication that there are plenty of coachable, skilled players in the next generation. The instant coaching impact had me wondering about the lasting stories that might be told about player/mentor connections decades from now.
Craig doesn't like being wrong, but he doesn't mind owning up to it about the Pirates outfielder.
This won’t come as a surprise to most anyone, but I thoroughly enjoy being correct. My default form of conversation is argument/debate, and I’ll generally play devil’s advocate even if I agree with someone, as a means to ferret out why I agree, or why that point is worth making. Basically, if I’m talking to you or at you, it’s because I have a vested interest in making a point that I want you to agree with. I’m a terrible person.
What sucks (for me) is I’m wrong a lot. I don’t think the percentage is particularly egregious, but as with anyone who puts their opinions on record, those opinions are going to be wrong with some regularity. I’ve accepted that as a part of life, but it’s still hard to swallow. I often think my reasons at the time were justified, and that just because it didn’t break my way, doesn’t mean I was wrong, just that it turned out differently. This is hiding behind “the process.” I was wrong, and good reasoning at the time or not, that needs to be owned. I was wrong about Starling Marte.
Scouts' takes on Chris Davis, Aaron Judge, Sean Manaea, and other interesting players.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Indians outfielder James Ramsey and Astros righty Vincent Velasquez.
Hitter of the Night: James Ramsey, OF, Indians (Columbus, AAA): 5-5, R, 2 2B, HR.
There are questions about whether Ramsey can be an everyday player given that he may end up in a corner outfield spot and may not develop the power required to handle it, but he’s shown a major league bat thus far and just had his first breakout game in Triple-A. His road to the majors will be much easier to traverse with the Indians than it had been with the Cardinals.
Pitcher of the Night: Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Astros (Lancaster, A+): 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 11 K.
When we give pitchers free passes for struggling in the California League, it’s important to remember that not all of them do. Velasquez is one who has not, missing more than a bat per inning while flashing two potential plus pitches. His 2.92 ERA this season proves that it can be done, as he continues to progress as a potential mid-rotation starter.
Fourteen-strikeout facts and trivia, plus your guide to how to spend your baseball time this weekend.
The Thursday Takeaway Max Scherzer last struck out at least 14 batters on May 20, 2012 and the Pirates were on the receiving end of his nastiness. In the intervening 28 months, only one pitcher—Yovani Gallardo on July 15, 2012—so thoroughly carved up the Bucs.
Yesterday, we found out that the Missourian’s assault on Pittsburgh two years ago was no fluke. Scherzer and the Pirates are simply a match made in strikeout heaven.
If these players are on your waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.
Oswaldo Arcia, OF, Minnesota Twins
With Arcia having played the 162nd game of his young career, his overall fantasy line— .241 average, 24 homers, 72 RBI and 61 runs scored—doesn’t exactly scream mixed league stalwart. Sure, the power is nice, but he’s also racked up 196 strikeouts over that timeframe—good for a 30.7 percent rate. That’s not going to help him improve on that batting average. However, Arcia’s track record in the minor leagues suggests that he’s not this type of player, and he seems to be heating up of late. While he’s been particularly hot in August, his turnaround has been happening for longer than that. On June 22nd, he was sitting on a 29 at-bat hitless streak and a .638 OPS for the season, but after getting a few days off, Arcia got out from underneath that boulder and has proceeded to hit .260/.350/.463 with six homers in 36 games since. That would be good enough to be relevant in most mixed leagues that start five outfielders, but Arcia’s upside exceeds what he’s done at the major league level thus far. After all, he was a career .314 hitter in the minor leagues (over 434 games). —Bret Sayre
Has MLB given up on stopping intentional beanballs?
One of my least favorite hot takes in all of sports comes when people say that the National Hockey League should ban fighting. Not because I find the sport’s method of supposed self-regulation to be at all attractive but simply because fighting in hockey is banned. Know how I know it’s banned? Because not only is it a penalty to fight, it’s a major penalty. The NHL banned shooting the puck over the glass from your own zone a few years back, and you only get two minutes for that; thus certainly fighting is banned if it's five.
So technically you are not allowed to throw at hitters in Major League Baseball. If you hit someone, he goes to first, which, if it’s leading off the inning, costs about a third of a run. And if you miss, the 1–0 count isn’t good either. And these days you’ll probably try again. Sometimes you’ll even get ejected like Randall Delgado did when he punctuated Andrew McCutchen last week.
The tool for tracking the current top prospects, reviewing prospects from past seasons, and following your team tracker teams across all levels.
With the minor-league seasons winding down, many are turning their attention more and more to prospects—both those who are likely to get called up and those who are still a ways away. Prospect Tracker was announced early in 2012, and some new features were added last season to make it even more powerful.