On the (unlucky) 13th episode of DFA, R.J. and Bryan consider the popularity of baseball trade rumors while speculating on the deadline. Plus, the guys go over all the recent moves, including Trevor Plouffe, Gleyber Torres, Neftali Feliz, and Tyson Ross.
It's Baseball Prospectus's newest podcast: DFA! Host Bryan Grosnick (Baseball Prospectus), co-host R.J. Anderson (CBS Sports), and 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.
The younger may have the kids more excited, but don't forget about the elder.
In today's edition of Two Trains, we survey a couple of pitchers who have both suffered from subpar strikeout rates throughout their careers, but whose ratios have put them in the SP2 conversation at various times. The fantasy values of Sonny Gray and Jordan Zimmermann are headed in different directions, with Gray coming off a career-best campaign that earned him the third-most votes for AL Cy Young Award, and Zimmermann trying to rebound from a career-worst performance with a fresh start on a new team in a different league.
Sonny Gray, the Brewers bullpen, and other Monday stars, plus what to watch today.
The Monday Takeaway
First innings have been a bear for Athletics ace Sonny Gray this season. Coming into his start at Globe Life Park on Monday, Gray had issued six walks and recorded four strikeouts in the opening frame of his first four starts; his K:BB ratio thereafter was a solid 27-to-7.
All of the great holidays are marked by high levels of anticipation. But Opening Day stands out among the more traditional observances because it is merely the beginning of the celebration to follow: seven months of 6-4-3 double plays, exploding sliders, and that sweet sound when lumber meets horsehide. It’s easy to fall pretty to the trap of overweighting observations made at the start of the regular season, and the rational observer will maintain perspective while enjoying the day's festivities. But that doesn't mean that there’s nothing to be learned from the first round of games. Early in the season, many pitchers are making real adjustments to elements of their mechanics, approach, and repertoire, and these alterations can be put under the microscope in order to get an idea of the player's developmental patterns.
See how Wilson built his team after shelling out $46 for the best player in the game.
Mike Gianella recently 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:
Doug's attachment to arms shines through as he nabs David Price and Felix Hernandez to anchor his dream Roto staff.
I tend to go with something resembling the stars-and-scrubs approach, mostly because I think that it's possible to identify “scrubs” who will be productive. It's no secret that I have an attachment to arms, and I always make a point to secure a pair of aces in my fantasy leagues, whether draft or auction.
The knock against pitchers is that they always get hurt, which tends to depress their value, and the injury-risk makes it all the more important to have two top-end guys at the top of my fantasy rotation—if one gets hurt then my season is not necessarily down the drain, because ace no. 2 can carry the weight. So my staff is top-heavy, after which it's time to go dumpster-diving, and I take great joy each fantasy season in identifying the cheap pitchers who will ascend to the next level. Oh, and sucks to closers—they are way too volatile to trust in a league where rosters are locked on Opening Day, so I'll just go ahead and aim for victories in the counting stats of Ks and Ws while sacrificing saves. My calculator says that two 15s and a 1 supersede the worth of a sixth-place finish in three categories, and the draft-and-lock setup changes the game in this case.
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:
A power-packed middle of the order and a postseason darling on the mound are among the players who ought to pique your interest in Bob Melvin's bunch.
The Athletics were the surprise winners of the AL West last year, relying on a power-heavy offense and good, young pitching to conquer preseason favorites in Texas and Los Angeles (of Anaheim).
Fantasy owners who took gambles on some Athletics players last year were largely rewarded, as some oft-injured contributors stayed healthy, while some relative unknowns emerged as reliable fantasy assets. Were said performances sustainable, or should fantasy players stay away from the offense-suppressing environment in Oakland? We take a look in this early preview.
Game Two produced an epic duel. Can Justin Verlander and Sonny Gray deliver an encore?
I still have Game Two as both the best of this series and the playoffs at large, but Game Four was thrilling throughout with potential Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer wiggling out of a bases-loaded jam en route to earning the second Detroit win of the series. It’s worth noting that he did not start the game, but rather threw two electrifying innings of relief.
These three hurlers can rack up the Ks, but just how valuable will they be come draft season next spring?
There’s nothing quite as sexy in fantasy baseball as a young, strikeout-heavy starter. Fortunately for baseball fans everywhere, the 2013 postseason is chock full of them.
From Shelby Miller to Gerrit Cole to Matt Moore and beyond, those in the next wave of stud fantasy strikeout-heavy starters are making their presence felt this October. As we get to watch these young hurlers baffle hitters many years their elder, let’s take a look at how three comparatively under-hyped arms stack up heading into 2014.
A mechanical look at the debuts of a trio of promising pitching prospects: Sonny Gray, Danny Salazar, and Jarred Cosart.
In the week leading up the All-Star break, a trio of American League pitchers made their respective MLB debuts. The rookies were summoned from the minors in a span of three consecutive days and immediately sent into action, only to have each of their tours cut short with a return trip to the bush leagues. The call-ups were well-covered by my BP colleagues, and though the sips of coffee were brief, you can bet that the memories from their first taste of the majors will last a lifetime. Let’s take a mechanical look at what we can expect when this trio returns.
July 10 – Sonny Gray, Oakland at Pittsburgh
The A's tabbed the Vanderbilt product with their first pick in the 2011 draft (no. 18 overall). He was promoted aggressively, receiving an assignment to double-A Midland within two months of being drafted and after just two innings of rookie ball. The numbers from his first full season were less than inspiring, but he has rebounded this season with a sub-3.00 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning in over 100 frames for triple-A Sacramento. The All-Star break precluded the need for a fifth starter in the Oakland rotation, so the A's called up Gray to pitch out of the bullpen while Dan Straily stayed on turn with the River Cats.