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March 27, 2014 6:00 am

The Darkhorses: Strikeouts

4

BP Fantasy Staff

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:

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September 10, 2013 6:00 am

What You Need to Know: The Pirates Make it Official

1

Daniel Rathman

Gerrit Cole helps Pittsburgh seal win no. 82, Juan Uribe breaks out, Gio Gonzalez nearly no-hits the Mets, plus Andrelton Simmons and more.

The Monday Takeaway
Last Tuesday, Gerrit Cole helped the Pirates take the first step in their resurgence, contributing six innings of two-run ball toward a 4-3 victory that sealed at least a .500 team record. Then the Pirates lost four in a row, three of them to the first-place Cardinals. Six days after they earned that symbolic win, they were still stuck on 81.

Cole would have none of that on Monday night in Arlington, when he was asked to outduel Yu Darvish. His seven brilliant frames, authored in one of the league’s toughest venues, were one small step for the rookie pitcher, one giant leap for his franchise.


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August 6, 2013 6:00 am

What You Need to Know: Atlanta All Alone

5

Daniel Rathman

The return of Justin Upton's power has propelled the Braves to a sizzling hot streak.

The Monday Takeaway
Remember the Justin Upton who cranked five homers in his first five games of the 2013 season, then tacked on a sixth in game seven, ran his tally up to nine in game 13, and was on top of the league with a dozen through game 23? He was gone for a while, and he rarely called home. But if the past handful of days is any indication, he has returned.

Upton swatted his 13th big fly of the year on May 13, his 14th on May 17, his 15th on June 12, and his 16th on July 9. The counter stayed stuck on 16 for the rest of July. After hitting 12 homers in the first month, he hit only four over the next two-and-a-half. Upton’s OPS tumbled from 1.040 on May 13 to .791 on July 31. And though the Braves withstood the slump for a while, they scuffled to a 23-25 record between May 26 and July 25.


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February 26, 2013 5:00 am

Overthinking It: PECOTA's Projected Fallers

11

Ben Lindbergh

Five hitters and five pitchers PECOTA thinks will sink in 2013.

Yesterday we looked at five position players and five pitchers whom BP’s projection system, PECOTA, believes are in for big improvements in 2013. Today we’ll tackle PECOTA’s picks to suffer some of the largest declines.

Hitters
Mike Trout, Angels
2012 WARP (639 PA):
9.1
Projected 2013 WARP (693 PA): 5.3
Projected WARP decrease: -3.8
Trout is projected to see the largest WARP decrease of any player—and to tie for the fifth-highest WARP among non-pitchers. It’s a reminder of how far ahead of the pack he was in 2012 that PECOTA can project him to be much less valuable than last year, but still more valuable than almost everyone else. Although he fits the profile of a high-BABIP hitter, Trout was likely a little lucky on balls in play—his batting average on line drives was over 40 points above league average. Some regression in that area, coupled with the adjustments made by opponents who’ve spent the winter searching for ways to get him out, might make Trout merely one of the most valuable players in baseball instead of the most valuable by far.






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January 21, 2013 5:00 am

Pebble Hunting: The Year in Pitchers Not Getting Focal Dystonia

7

Sam Miller

What happened when pitchers temporarily forgot how to throw strikes last season?

There wasn’t a lot that went well with Heath Bell’s 2012 season, but there was this pitch:

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Gio Gonzalez took a big step forward statistically last season, and his breakout was backed up by mechanical improvements.

Gio Gonzalez had a breakout season in 2012, finishing third in the Cy Young voting in his first year with the Washington Nationals. Despite the dominant campaign and a track record for success, Gonzalez had to live in the shadow cast by the spotlights surrounding teammate Stephen Strasburg, putting up with the common perception that he wasn’t the best pitcher on his own team, let alone the whole league.

The trade that brought Gonzalez to the nation's capital marked the fourth time that the southpaw had been dealt since being selected by the White Sox in the supplemental round of the 2004 draft. The Pale Hose shipped him to Philadelphia as the PTBNL in a deal that brought Jim Thome to the south side in November of 2005, only to re-acquire Gonzalez a year later (along with Gavin Floyd) in a swap that put Freddy Garcia in purple pinstripes. The Sox then broke up with Gio for a second time after just 13 months, packaging him to Oakland in a deal that brought Nick Swisher to Chicago. 

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PECOTA prefers Stephen Strasburg were going, but the Nationals will instead hopes a different ace can bounce back from a wild outing.

Four division series, four Game Fives, and this one between the Cardinals and Nationals should decide the last team to advance—unless, of course, the Yankees and Orioles play extra innings again. If the Cardinals win, the no. 2-seeded Giants will enjoy home-field advantage in the NLCS; if the Nationals win, they will host Game One on Sunday as the senior circuit’s top regular-season team. First things first, here are the PECOTA odds and projected starting lineups for this evening’s contest:

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The Nationals got behind in the game but get ahead in the series.

In the Cardinals-Nationals series preview, I crowned Matt Carpenter the best pinch-hitting option in the series. I then declared the Nationals trio of Roger Bernadina, Chad Tracy, and Tyler Moore the second-through-fourth best pinch-hitting options available in the series. Davey Johnson deployed each of the three in Sunday’s Game One victory.

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October 7, 2012 11:28 am

Playoff Prospectus: Cardinals-Nationals Division Series Preview

0

R.J. Anderson

The National League's best offense takes on the National League's best record.

Fresh off winning the first-ever National League wild card game, the Cardinals have the honors of hosting the top-seeded Nationals for a best-of-five series.

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The Nats and Cards kick off their series with a matchup between Gio Gonzalez and Adam Wainwright in St. Louis.

After eliminating the Braves for the second year in a row, the Cardinals return home to Busch Stadium to take on the Nationals. Here are the PECOTA odds and projected lineups for Game One:

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Ben and Sam examine how the Nationals have gone about implementing and publicizing Stephen Strasburg's innings limit and revisit Billy Beane's trades from last winter in light of Oakland's success.

Effectively Wild Episode 7: "Duck"

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Brandon Beachy's impending Tommy John surgery is the latest reminder that a team can never have enough pitching.

The Wednesday Takeaway
In the latest reminder that you can never have too much pitching depth, the Braves have lost Brandon Beachy for the rest of the 2012 season, after a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews revealed that the righty will need Tommy John surgery.

Fredi Gonzalez began the year with a strong group of starters—even with Tim Hudson on the disabled list—and plenty of possible reinforcements. When Jair Jurrjens coughed up five home runs and 10 walks in his first four starts, Atlanta had the luxury of sending him down, because Hudson was finally healthy and Randall Delgado was emerging as a reliable rotation piece.


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