The Dodgers' ace is the priciest player on Craig's Roto dream team.
On Friday, Mike Gianella released his latest mixed league Bid Limits, which spurred an idea from Bret Sayre called Model Portfolios, wherein the fantasy staff (and anyone else on the BP roster who wants to participate) will create their own team within the confines of a standard 23-man, $260 budget. The roster being constructed includes: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, UTx2, and Px9 along with the following standards issued by Sayre:
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Bryan Price's club boasts a three-headed rotation monster, a triple-digit-throwing closer, two lefty sluggers, and the fastest player in the game.
The 2013 season ended in brutal fashion for the Reds, as they lost the National League Wild Card Game to a division rival. The offseason wasn’t much better, as they saw one of their best hitters and most consistent pitchers (even if he is flatly average) leave town. They were replaced by internal options who have good upside, but have yet to prove themselves over the course of a full season. They’ll need to hit the ground running, as anything short of a return to the playoffs will be a disappointment in the Queen City.
How do industry insiders (and BP readers) view Tanaka relative to other right-handed starters?
In December of 2011, shortly after the Rangers submitted a winning $51.7 bid for exclusive rights to talk to Yu Darvish, then-BP prospect writer Kevin Goldsteinsurveyed 10 industry insiders to see how good they thought Darvish was going to be. Instead of asking for physical comps or statistical projections, Kevin stacked Darvish up against a selection of five other right-handed starters and asked for each insider’s one-on-one pitcher preference. In retrospect, some of the responses seem silly—three people took Ian Kennedy over Darvish—but the consensus wasn’t far from the mark: Darvish, the insiders said, would be worse than Justin Verlander, roughly as good as Zack Greinke, better than Matt Garza and Kennedy, and much better than Ricky Nolasco. Sounds about right.
Last week, the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka, the best Japanese starter to cross the Pacific since Darvish, to a seven year, $155 million deal (plus posting fee, luxury tax, and the priced-in expense of the opt-out clause) that will make him one of baseball’s 10 highest-paid players in 2014. The next question, naturally, is, “How good is the guy they just got?”
Many fantasy owners have prejudged certain players, like Adam LaRoche, as fast or slow starters, but the data on April performances paints a much cloudier picture.
Every year, in both real baseball and the fantasy version, we tell ourselves that certain players are prone to either fast starts or slow starts, as in: “Don’t worry, that player always gets off to a slow start. He’ll come around.” Or, “that guy is always en fuego in April. If you’re counting on a 40 HR, 100 RBI season from him, you’re surely going to be disappointed.”
In deeper leagues, it’s irrelevant whether a player is a hot starter or a cold starter. If you spend $20 on a slow-starting corner infielder and your alternatives in the free agent pool are Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Ciriaco, you’re not going to jettison the slow starter for these bottom-of-the-barrel options.
It comes down to one last deciding game between the Reds and Giants, with Latos and Cain taking the bump for the two clubs.
The vintage Tim Lincecum was resurrected at Great American Ballpark in Game Four, tossing 4 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Barry Zito to lead the Giants to an 8-3 win that evened the series at 2-2. This afternoon’s contest is for all the marbles. To get you ready for the appetizer of a four-course baseball meal, here are the PECOTA odds and projected starting lineups for Game Five:
The Giants finally score some runs, and even the series against the Reds.
There was a pretty good chance the Giants were going to lose on Tuesday. As you’ll recall, they had one hit through nine innings; they drew one walk; they scored because of a passed ball and an error; etc. They could have very, very easily lost on Tuesday. And if they had, Tim Lincecum’s season highlights would have looked like this:
The Reds lost the pitcher but won the battle. Now will they win the war?
From game one to game 162, the Reds rotation stayed perfectly intact. The only time a sixth man started was in August, when Todd Redmond was called up for a day to work the second game of a doubleheader. That durability turned a rotation that was merely pretty good into a huge asset.
If the perception in your league is that these guys are ERA-killers, now's the time to swoop.
When it comes to making trades in fantasy baseball, impressions are everything. It doesn’t matter if R.A. Dickey throws 41 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and two straight one-hitters; if his owner thinks Dickey’s knuckler is being guided by a ghost named Thaddeus who stormed off after Dickey’s last start, upset that Dickey hasn’t credited him for his help yet and swearing he’ll never help Dickey again, well, that owner is going to be selling Dickey mighty low before the pitcher takes the mound again. Perception is everything.
While you’ll be hard-pressed to find an owner who believes Dickey is being helped by a potentially egotistical ghost named Thaddeus (and has a cynical view of friendship and forgiveness to boot), there are other forms of perception that can impact a player’s trade value. One of the biggest ones I like to be on the lookout for is slow starters who have begun to turn a corner.
Paul takes a tour of the league's two-start pitchers to see which are worth using this week.
It’s been a shaky start to the two-start week for several of our American League options from last week. Drew Smyly and Max Scherzerwere both touched up in Chicago. Jeff Niemann had his leg broken and now sits on the 60-day disabled list. Ivan Nova and Jason Hammel were smacked around in an 8-5 slugfest against each other.
National Leaguers didn’t fare much better as Erik Bedard, Ryan Dempster, and Chad Billingsley were among the casualties in their first start. I should’ve known better with Dempster; I gave the reason not to start him within the article—he was facing St. Louis. They have become a team you must sit your non-star pitchers against.
Jason Heyward takes a step forward, while Mat Latos and Gio Gonzalez are looking to get the ball rolling with their new clubs.
The Wednesday Takeaway
The Braves are counting on bounce-back campaigns from their corner outfielders and contributions from their high-ceiling pitching prospects as they look to return to the top of the NL East standings for the first time since 2005. If Wednesday night’s 6-3 victory over the Astros is any indication, they may get them.
Starter Randall Delgado earned the win for Atlanta, tossing five innings of two-run ball and striking out six. But the bigger story was right fielder Jason Heyward, who made his presence felt throughout the game and might be ready to resume his rise to stardom.