The Rays righty is back on the mound, but is he ready to help you in fantasy leagues?
Stop getting excited about Jeremy Hellickson. All four of you. If we haven’t learned that we shouldn’t judge anything based off of four starts or 20-plus innings, we sure as hell should have. So let’s not declare him “back to the old Hellickson,” or make any other bold proclamations here. Let’s just take a look at what he’s done over 20 brief innings, and see if he’s doing anything different. If he is, perhaps you can get in on the ground floor of his value, after a rough 2013.
With his strikeout and walk rates in the same vicinity of his career totals, let’s start with his velocity, per Brooks Baseball:
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If these players are on your waiver wire, they might be worth a look, depending on the format of your league.
Jonathan Singleton, 1B, Houston Astros
There’s definitely some weirdness to Singleton’s numbers so far this season. The biggest, by far, is that he’s handling lefties extremely well, despite having that knock against him in the minor leagues. I mean, 59 plate appearances is nothing to draw vast conclusions from, but his .264/.322/.566 line against southpaws at least hints at an ability that many thought he’d struggle with. Recently, it hasn’t mattered who Singleton has faced, the power stroke has been out in full force. If the performance against left-handers is even slightly real, that will fill out Singleton’s fantasy value even more than we had initially thought—potentially raising his future batting average and power output (assuming full playing time). After all, Singleton is not going to keep producing like a below replacement-level infielder against right-handers (.589 OPS in 141 at bats). If you just lost Paul Goldschmidt in a shallow league and are looking to at least replace his power, Singleton has a chance to give you some similar output in that arena—albeit, at a price. —Bret Sayre
Examining how the concepts about which Jeff writes can be applied to a real fantasy league scenario.
Less specifically, I type words. More specifically, I type words about the theories and concepts that surround fantasy baseball strategy. Every once in a while, it is worthwhile to zoom in a little, to take a look at an actual fantasy baseball example because it allows us to see how these concepts and theories can play out in our leagues. Consequently, I bring you a case study from my NL only keeper league (which also happens to be my favorite league). The trades and non-trades made by the top three teams in my league provide excellent studies on strategy, owner tendencies, competitive response, and trade markets as well as the interactions of all these concepts. Let us get cracking.
11 team, NL only, 5x5 roto, 15 major league keeper max, 4 minor league keeper max, 12 hitters/9 pitchers/1 utility slot.
The Outcomes suggest some players to trade for and trade away in advance of the Scoresheet deadline.
With the MLB trade deadline behind us and the Scoresheet trade deadline fast approaching, now’s a good time to talk trades. Well, any time is a good time good to talk trades, but that’s particularly the case now. Below we list some trade targets and players to move, along with our reasoning. Keep in mind the quirks of the Scoresheet playoffs: you are looking for players who will get playing time in September, but performance to date is banked value.
These minor leaguers' saw their stocks rise or drop when they changed organizations last week.
With one of the busiest trade deadlines in recent memory, we’ve all had a chance to opine on who won what trade, ask what the Rays were thinking, ogle the Oakland pitching staff and come to grips with Yoenis in Red Sox colors.
Examining a handful of players who might pique your interest in deep leagues.
I bless the intros down in Africa.
Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs
Lost amid the litany of high-profile Cubs pitching prospects, Baez is a little-known power-hitting middle infielder who’s quietly made his way through Chicago’s system. Praised for his bat speed, raw power, and #rig but decried for his approach, eyesight, and streaky past performances, Baez is someone you should keep in mind in deep leagues nonetheless.
Javier Baez is coming to The Show, but he gets to top the list one final time.
The Graduates: James Paxton (6), Justin Masterson (9)
It only took three-and-a-half months, but Paxton finally reemerged on a major league mound on Saturday, allowing two runs in 4 1/3 innings against the Orioles. Considering the matchup and the rust he was fighting off, it was a pretty positive outing overall. If the current schedule he’s on holds, he’ll pitch exclusively either at home in Safeco or in National League parks for the remainder of August—which is an awfully nice way to ease back into things after a long layoff. Masterson not only graduated, but he switched teams in the process. With the Cardinals, he should have an easier time finding value in mixed leagues than in Cleveland, and is certainly worth owning in 14-team mixed leagues and deeper (while streaming him in shallower leagues than that).
The Departed: Robert Refsnyder (21), Mike Foltynewicz (HM)
Sure, the Yankees not developing a positional prospect that’s made any sort of impact at the major league level since Brett Gardner is partly because their system as a whole has been down, but it’s also because of the same thing that Refsnyder must be feeling right now. Regardless of the hole, the Yankees have the cash to fill it cheaply. In this case, the Yankees brought in Stephen Drew to play second, Chase Headley to play third, and Martin Prado to play the outfield spot not taken by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. In other words, like Forrest Gump getting on the school bus, every position that Refsnyder could have been an option at is now taken. Foltynewicz gets the strange distinction of getting called up to the majors, but appearing in the Departed section, rather than as a graduate. That’s because he’ll be used in the bullpen the rest of the season, and with “Mr Untouchable” Chad Qualls holding down the back-end of the Astros’ pen, you can let him go in just about all redraft leagues.
A look at the upcoming AL-vs-NL and NL-vs-AL matchups, and how they might affect teams' lineups.
Please note that in the “DH” column, the player listed is the player that has been added or removed from the lineup, not necessarily the player in the DH slot. For example, if the Phillies move Dominic Brown to DH and put Tony Gwynn Jr. in the OF, then I will list Gwynn Jr. in the “DH” column because he is the player who is gaining at-bats.
The Mets slugger is thumping like Chris Davis in 2013, but does that mean you should invest in his services?
Every fantasy owner has a handful of players who have repeatedly burned them. Like the sleeper picks who don’t pan out, yet leave you undaunted and going back to the well next season for another bucket of water, only to find out it’s still polluted, pungent, and undrinkable.
Brandon Morrow was one of those guys for me. I felt a brief sense of vindication when he dominated with a 2.96 ERA over 21 starts in 2012, only to suffer extreme heartbreak when he plummeted into the abyss the following year. Luckily, that next season, I shied away from him in general and only resented my impetuousness in a single league. Progress, right?
In-season salary caps can restrict unwanted trade activity, but they might also alter your preferred strategy.
One of the most common complaints from fantasy baseball players revolves around trades with disparate value. While this complaint exists in non-carryover leagues, it is a far more common issue in keeper leagues, where there is always room for debate about what constitutes fair value. Depending upon what your league is like, a cost-controlled Byron Buxton for Miguel Cabrera and Felix Hernandez trade either sounds eminently fair or like a complete and utter sham.
One conundrum in auction-style Roto leagues is that depending upon the league’s contract, salary, and freeze limit rules the market price for Buxton might very well be much higher than it is for Cabrera and Hernandez. There are several reasons that this phenomenon might occur, and to catalogue all of them is well beyond the intended scope of this article. In some leagues, though, it isn’t uncommon to see trades where three, four, or even five major league players are swapped for a cost-controlled Buxton.
Helping you set your fantasy rotation for next week with a look at the two-start pitchers.
Welcome to a very special Trading Deadline edition of the Weekly Pitching Planner! Because this is going to press in the wake of a whole bunch of significant deadline deals our usual disclaimer regarding rotation plans being subject to change goes double this week. As of this writing the Cardinals, A’s, Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, Astros, and Marlins have all made deals that potentially shake up their starting rotation slotting heading into next week. While the moves in some cases shouldn’t affect scheduled starters for Monday/Tuesday, in some other cases they will. I made my best guesses based off the current information I had, but obviously if and when things move around to accommodate the new depth charts, you can feel free to inquire on two-start options below in the comments.
Right now, it looks like Lester will slot in for Oakland’s Monday-Saturday starts, which is unfortunate news for Jeff Samardzija owners, as Shark was set up for a strong two-start week. Lester’s an “auto-start” if this plan does indeed proceed as scheduled. It also appears as though John Lackey will jump right into a two-start schedule if he takes over Joe Kelly’s normal slot, and that would put him at the top of the “consider” pile in the NL with starts at home against his old squad followed by a trip to Baltimore. And for the Sox I’ll go all-in with a full “start” recommendation for Bill “Spaceman” Lee’s triumphant return to the bump. The Braves and Padres will each only play five this week, so no two-start options will be found in either rotation.