The best and worst pitcher mechanics in the AL Central are broken down.
Our journey through baseball's mechanical extremes continues with a tour of the American League Central, a division that is teeming with power deliveries that created bottlenecks at the top and fueled stiff competition in every category. Before we get started, here's a quick refresher on the rules: pitchers must have thrown 40 or more innings in 2014 and finished the season playing for a club in the AL Central.
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These players vastly outperformed their draft position, making them the best fantasy values of the past season.
Trying to determine any Fantasy Baseball MVP is inherently difficult because the notion of what is the “most valuable” depends on the specific league settings, the makeup of individual teams, and even the type of draft. However, we can certainly highlight some of the players who carried significant surplus value by comparing the preseason average draft position (ADP) of a player and his end-of-season ranking. Those players, we can reasonably assume, impacted the overall success rate of fantasy teams more than other picks.
A close look at the mechanics of two starters who've taken steps forward in 2014.
Pitcher breakouts are one of the most exciting aspects of each baseball season, but it’s hard to get riled up about them until we have a healthy chunk of the season in the rearview mirror. The halfway mark of the 2014 campaign has revealed a handful of players who have made great leaps in terms of value, both to their teams and on the stat sheet. Two of those pitchers are particularly intriguing. The Indians’ Corey Kluber and the Angels’ Garrett Richards have ascended to a higher plane of pitching performance this season, so let's dig into the components of each player's improvement.
The Indians might find their playoff edge in their putative no. 3 starter
The American League Wild Card situation remains fluid entering the season's final week. Six teams are mathematically alive, with three close enough to taste a spot in next Wednesday's Wild Card game. Singularity remains the game's biggest drawback, but its impact on the victor's rotation is a close second. Most teams, when faced with the situation, will use their best starter to survive; yet, for the Indians, the Wild Card game could actually ensure that their top starter appears earlier in the Divisional Series than he would otherwise.
Assuming the Indians meet expectations and leverage a breezy schedule into a playoff berth, then Justin Masterson—who continues to rehab from a strained oblique—or Ubaldo Jimenez would likely start the Wild Card game, with the other name starter taking Game 1. A scheduled off-day between the play-in game and the next series would allow the Indians to bring back their initial starter in Game 3, but creates the question: Who starts Game 2? Terry Francona could turn to rookie Danny Salazar or the experienced Scott Kazmir; however, this being a start on the road against the AL's top seed, he might prefer the pitcher with the most WARP on staff this season: Corey Kluber.
A look at some players who might be available to provide a late-season boost to your fantasy team, depending on the format in which you play.
Nick Franklin, SS, Seattle Mariners
You’re forgiven if you bailed on Franklin in standard mixed. A prolonged slump pushed Franklin’s slash down to 220/291/395. The power has been terrific, but everything else in Franklin’s game has been terrible. His strikeout rate skyrocketed, suggesting that Franklin was overmatched after the pitchers adjusted to him. Franklin seems to talented not to improve, but the Mariners don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to guys like Franklin. If you really need the power jolt, stick Franklin in your line-up, but I’d stay away from him in mixed unless it’s a keeper. –Mike Gianella