On the 21th episode of the DFA podcast, R.J. rejoins the show to talk about some of the deadline deals, including the red-hot Tim Beckham's move to Baltimore and the Yu Darvish blockbuster. Then it's on to the Mariners (where Jerry Dipoto snagged another first baseman) and the regular league-wide roundup.
It's another episode of the DFA podcast! Hosts Bryan Grosnick (Baseball Prospectus) and R.J. Anderson (CBS Sports), plus producer Shawn Brody (Beyond the Box Score, BP Mets), are talking about all the transactions and roster moves that make MLB go. From trades and signings to callups and disabled list stints, DFA is here to provide analysis and commentary on all things baseball.
On the 20th episode of the DFA podcast, Bryan hosts an all-star collection of BP writers in our first live episode! Listen in as Craig Goldstein, Patrick Dubuque, Jeffrey Paternostro, Emma Baccellieri, Kate Morrison, and Aaron Gleeman all share their thoughts on the major and minor moves as the deadline comes and goes. It's a must-listen!
It's not exactly business as usual for how we view starting pitchers in fantasy.
The league-wide proliferation of home runs has fueled a rapid increase in run scoring over the past two seasons. After nearly a decade of offensive decline, major-league pitchers were the ones most adversely affected by the recent onslaught of round trippers. A confluence of factors like injuries, the aforementioned offensive uptick, and fewer starters eclipsing the 200-inning plateau have widened the gap between the upper echelon fantasy starters and the remainder of the talent pool. Before we take a deep dive into the fantasy ramifications of these latest developments, within the context of ERA, let’s survey the overall landscape.
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Has the PIrates lefty finally returned to being what we always thought he'd be?
Johan Santana was a cog in my home-league lineup back in the early 2000s, and following a 2004 in which he was a unanimous Cy Young selection, I had a pitching-staff anchor for the long haul. I did until 2006 anyway, when I fell head over heels for a younger, maybe-even-better Twins lefty who threw all the same pitches but harder. I traded Santana. I spent the summer months looking for a Twins bar in central North Carolina. 2006 was my least-favorite fantasy season ever.
The Pirates lefty has fared well in July, but is that reason to believe that the tide has turned on his 2014 season?
It’s no secret that Francisco Liriano remains one of the more electric arms in baseball. He still has a lively fastball, as well as a devastating slider-changeup combination that can induce a myriad of swings-and-misses. When he throws strikes consistently and stays healthy, he can be dominant. Last year, he missed a few starts and only threw 161 innings, but he decimated the NL Central with a 3.02 ERA (2.92 FIP) and struck out more than a batter per inning. Ultimately, he was a top-30 starter and a wonderful surprise in all formats.
Fantasy owners remained skittish when drafting Liriano this spring. His average draft position didn’t reflect his 2013 performance, as owners worried about his health and whether he had truly discovered something that would lead to consistent, reliable performance on the mound.
The fantasy crew runs down the starters it expects to beat their PECOTA projections in punchouts.
One of the fun ways we all try to outsmart our opponents in fantasy is by searching for hidden value in players who, for one reason or another, we suspect have the ability to outpace their projections (and, relatedly, their draft cost). Our Darkhorses series features staff picks for players who could very well outpace their PECOTA projections for the year and provide the top overall production in one of the standard five-by-five categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall outside of the top 10 and one longer-shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’re taking a look at pitching this week, following our run on offense a week ago. To read the earlier editions in this series, click below:
Frontline fantasy pitchers come and go, so Bret looks at the hurlers who seem poised to make the leap next year.
Conventional fantasy wisdom has always suggested that pitching is more volatile from year-to-year than hitting. In this case, conventional wisdom is absolutely correct—and the 2013 season bore this out even more than usual. When you look at the top ten fantasy starters in both 2013 and 2012, one thing becomes very apparent: there’s a ton of turnover. In fact, there was only one pitcher (Clayton Kershaw) who made both lists. For further effect, here they are side-by-side:
Examining the stuff and mechanics of two pitchers who've taken steps forward in 2013.
Last week's edition of Raising Aces examined the stuff and mechanics of CC Sabathia and Josh Johnson—a couple of typically great pitchers who have fallen on hard times—in an effort to explain their struggles. This week we flip the script, studying a pair of pitchers who have greatly exceeded expectations in 2013 to find out whether each pitcher's success is sustainable. Under the microscope today: Francisco Liriano and Justin Masterson, both of whom could conceivably headline playoff rotations this fall.
Liriano has been an enigma throughout his career. As a 22-year-old, the left-hander garnered comps to Minnesota teammate Johan Santana, recording 177 strikeouts against just 39 walks over his first 145 innings in the big leagues. The balloon burst when he underwent Tommy John Surgery following the 2006 season, after which he wasn’t the same. But Liriano has rediscovered his mojo this year, and through 100 frames he is invoking memories of the '06 breakout that originally put him on the national radar.