If a couple saves could tilt the category, you should look under every rock this month.
As the season has progressed, I’ve discussed what I believe tobeproperstrategy when it comes to active roster construction, whether it be via trade, free agency, or your bench. At this point in the season—that is to say, with a mere 19 days left—it shouldn’t be going out on too much of a limb to say that categorical stratification trumps all. If you haven’t yet, take raw “value” and Old Yeller it (or White Fang it, depending on your preferred fictional canine reference). Whether you chase it away or pull out all the stops and take it out back and shoot it, just get rid of the notion of “value in a vacuum” so you’re not tempted to play with it and catch rabies (or whatever threat White Fang posed—I never claimed to be an expert).
At this juncture, it doesn’t matter that Michael Bourn is one of the top-ranked players in the PFM if you have no room to move up or down in steals. There’s precious little time left, and guys that are still left on the waiver wire aren’t likely to be especially valuable overall. But if you can uncover a couple of one-category gems, that could be all you need to propel your team a few points in the standings. It doesn’t matter if Anthony Gose strikes out nearly as much as Adam Dunn; if you need steals, he might as well be Albert Pujols to your team. Because of this dynamic, I’ll be spending today and Monday discussing some players who surely have flaws but who can provide a serious jolt if you need what they provide.
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Paulino, Dickey, Zambrano, and Ogando make the VP cut this week
We have seen a shift in recent years with dwindling offensive output giving way to more dominant pitching. At one point or another, each of the last two years has been dubbed the “Year of the Pitcher,” and 2012 is on the same path (though Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton may have something to say about that). This can be seen as a boon to fantasy owners, as Value Picks remain plentiful. Heck, just a cursory look at the top 10 starters in fantasy this season shows a handful of VP-types like Lance Lynn, Jake Peavy, and Jason Hammel. In short, there will always be some arms out there being undervalued or on the cusp of breaking out. Let’s take a look at this week’s list.
A comparison of Jason's Tout Wars AL and LABR AL teams
How does one conduct an auction after tipping their hand just three weeks prior? That was the main challenge I was facing in heading up to New York City for my sixth run at a Tout Wars title this past weekend. After all, just three weeks ago, I executed a plan for a very similar LABR AL league in Arizona and explained why I did what I did. It is bad enough that the room bids up every Rays player on me, but to then know the other guys that I favor put me at a double disadvantage this weekend.
With or without Wilson, Texas should have enough to make another World Series run
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the league division series, league championship series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski, and Kevin Goldstein's farm-system overview.
A humor-tinged recap of one of the most exciting World Series of our generation
Track #1: Iron Maiden: “The Duelist” “Ready to start the duel begins the best man wins in the end.
A lunge and a feint, a parry too late
A cut to the chest and you're down
Seeing the stain then feeling the pain
Feeling the sweat on your brow.”
After seeing poor starting pitching in both Championship Series, the World Series began with relatively strong starting performances.
After two League Championship Series full of slugfests, slopfests, and short starts—the four teams scored 5.5 runs per game while their starters averaged 4.8 innings per turn—the opener of the 2011 World Series between the Rangers and the Cardinals gave us a tight, low-scoring ballgame with solid-to-good starting pitching. True to LCS form, both managers emptied their bullpens with mostly-effective processions, but the Cardinals' bench and relief corps got the upper hand on two key plays, one of them a pinch-hit single by Allen Craig that Nelson Cruz almost caught, scoring the decisive run, the other an awful call that cost the Rangers a ninth-inning out. Behind those, and a few big hits from the middle of their lineup, the Redbirds took Game One in chilly, 49-degree St. Louis, 3-2.
Mike looks at 2011's crop of young pitchers who maybe be approaching innings limits.
As I was reviewing the first half of the Dodgers season over at my own blog this week (shameless plug here), one topic that came up was the solid performance of rookie starter Rubby de la Rosa. Forced into the rotation about a month ago when fifth starter Jon Garland’s season ended due to injury, he’s offered the club plenty of value (3.74 ERA / 3.94 SIERA), striking out more than a man per inning while doing some on-the-job learning with his control at the major league level. While his debut has been a nice surprise, he is also already nearing a career high in innings pitched with 85 2/3 combined innings under his belt between the minors and majors this year. His previous high was 110 1/3 innings last season, which followed three years in which he totaled just 69 2/3 frames. The Dodgers are woefully out of the chase, so the priority must be on preserving the 22-year-old for the future–not pushing him beyond his limits this year in pursuit of an October run which will almost certainly not come.
Last year may have been dubbed the "Year of the Pitcher," but out West, the pitching continues to thrive thanks to two hurlers who weren't expected to get the ball out of spring training.
It's June 3, and baseball's most tightly-clustered division houses not only the worst first-place team (Texas, at 31-26 going into Friday's action) and the best last-place team (Oakland, at 27-30) in the game, but also the best top-to-bottom starting pitching of any single division. Well, sort of. OK, not exactly. Call it the best conglomeration of ballpark-, league-, and luck-influenced starting pitching performance, if you will, because arriving at this conclusion requires the use of old-fashioned earned run average rather than the ubiquitous peripherals-based metrics that better reflect actual pitcher skill, but there it is all the same:
The Yankees and Rangers picked up where they left off in the ALCS, but a rocky Rhodes gave the Bombers the win.
Like Neftali Feliz, Alexi Ogando spent the spring getting stretched out while being considered for a rotation spot, but in late March, the Rangers decided that they were more content with their rotation alternatives than their late-game bullpen ones. On the same day they announced that Feliz would return to closing, with Ogando as the top righty set-up man, Tommy Hunter left his exhibition start with a groin strain. Rather than tab the far more heralded Feliz, whose minor-league performance as a starter turned him into one of the game's elite prospects, the team turned to Ogando, a 27-year-old whose career has unfolded in far different fashion, to say the least. Through two starts, he had been everything the Rangers could have dreamt, throwing 13 scoreless innings in his two starts prior to Sunday night's game against the Yankees, helping his club to the league's second-best ERA among starters at 2.63.
Early-season injuries have opened the door for many an inexperienced starter. Which ones should you roster in your fantasy rotation?
All it took was a week-and-a-half of baseball for injuries to open up multiple rotation spots across the league. Just because one of your pitchers went down doesn't mean you want to pick up his personal replacement, though: sometimes, it's best to just leave things as they are, or seek help elsewhere, as many of the names below will show you.