Hot & Not

Week 3:

Who’s Hot

DJ LeMahieu(COL): Making his second appearance on the Who’s Hot list, LeMahieu is leading MLB in hitting through 20 games at .406. He doesn’t hit for any power, 5 extra base hits(1 HR), and doesn’t steal many bases so he isn’t a great fantasy player but if DJ can hold around a .300 average this year he would be worth a spot on your roster.

Dee Gordon(MIA): Dee is hitting an even .400 through 21 games with the Marlins this season. Like LeMahieu he doesn’t hit for any power with 6 extra base hits and no home runs but he can steal bases. Gordon has 8 SBs but has also been caught 6 times. He is a treat to steal 40+ bases this year as long as he can keep getting on base.

Joey Votto(CIN): Votto has surprised everyone outside of the Reds clubhouse so far this year after coming back from a knee injury last season. He has 7 HRs through 20 games and in an injury plagued season last year he only hit 6 in 62 games. Votto is going to hit for a high average and if he can continue to provide power, he would be a guy we’d look to make a trade for.

Who’s Not

Ryan Zimmerman(WAS): Hitting .205 through 21 games this season. Zimmerman is experiencing some foot problems, according to Dan Kolko, which can’t help his early season numbers but if this discomfort continues I don’t see him getting any better. If you own Zimmerman, we’d suggest you look for a trade or have a back up plan ready before he hits the DL(maybe).

Adrian Beltre(TEX): Our #1 3B going into the year has really struggled early in the season. He is hitting an even .200 through 20 games. He has 2 HRs and 2 RBIs(yikes!). An interesting stat is Beltre only has 7 K’s so he is putting the ball in play without results. I wouldn’t panic and drop or trade him yet but if this continues for another couple weeks, don’t be afraid to look for a trade partner.

Edwin Encarnacion(TOR): Hitting .188 to open the season with 4 HRs/10RBIs and 16 K’s. Encarnacion is going to add pop to your fantasy lineup so not much concern here unless his average stays under .200 well into May.

Other Struggling:

George Springer in 20 games (3 HRs/11 RBIs/.197 AVG/30 K’s)

Chris Carter in 19 games (2 HRs/6 RBIs/.176 AVG/26 K’s)

Evan Gattis in 18 games (2 HRs/7 RBIs/.162 AVG/23 K’s)

Those last three names are all from the AL West leading Houston Astros! Baseball is a funny game at times.

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Weekend Adds: Saturday April 11

H2H match-ups are often won or lost on the weekend. Here are some tips and the players you might look to add on Saturday.

Saturday & Sunday all the Aces are going to be throwing for the second time in this opening week. Look for match-ups where the 5th starters are pitching if you need to add a hitter.

On Saturday, the teams that have the 5th starter scheduled to pitch are Twins, Yankees, Mariners, Blue Jays, Orioles, Mets, Pirates & DBacks, Marlins and Astros. In turn those teams will be throwing their Aces on Sunday.

Looking at some hitting additions you can make for Saturday, if they are available in your league:

Adam LaRoche is 9-13 against Twins Saturday starter Mike Pelfey.

Elvis Andrus is 6-17 off Roberto Hernandez of the Astros.

Billy Butler is 3-10 lifetime against M’s Saturday starter J.A. Happ.

Ben Zobrist, who probably isn’t on your waiver wire but is 6-13 in his career against J.A. Happ. He might be a solid play in daily leagues such as Draft Kings or FanDuel.

Pitchers who are scheduled to start Saturday who you might be able to pick-up:

Dillon Gee – the Braves have a less than powerful offense and Gee has thrown well against current Braves. He has held them to a combined .205 AVG with 1HR(Freeman). Freddie Freeman, the Braves best hitter, is just 7-29 in his career vs Gee. A very good matchup here for Gee.

Jarred Cosart has a good matchup against the Rays saturday. It will be his first start of the season and sometimes those are hard to predict but current Rays who have faced Cosart, have an average of .268 with 1 HR(Longoria)

 

Good Luck and enjoy the first of many Saturday baseball games in 2015!

 

 

Opening Week: Players to Watch

Today is Opening Day in MLB and here are a list of players you should be keeping a close eye on this week. These are guys who might still be available on your Waiver Wire.

Future Aces?

Archie Bradley – The Dbacks traded Trevor Cahill to the Braves and opened up the 5th spot in their rotation. Bradley will look to take advantage of the opportunity possibly this weekend against the Dodgers.

Daniel Norris – The “Van Guy” made the Blue Jays rotation out of Spring Training and will start Thursday in Yankee Stadium. Has the tools to be a Fantasy Ace.

He’s Back:

Alex Rodriguez – Joel Sherman is reporting that A-Rod will hit 7th and DH on opening day. An interesting player to watch, if he can regain any kind of his past form he could be worth a bench spot in Fantasy Leagues.

Closing Time:

Jason Grilli/Jim Johnson – The Braves traded away Craig Kimbrel and now the closer job is Grilli’s or Johnson’s to have. If the Braves can win any games this week keep an eye on who gets the save opportunities.

Brad Boxberger – With Jake McGee on the DL through April, Boxberger is going to get the save chances in Tampa. If he can take advantage, he might stick in that role even when McGee returns. Something to keep an eye on.

In AAA for now:

Yasmany Tomas/Kris Bryant/Rusney Castillo – All 3 of these guys could make a major impact on your Fantasy team this year(when they get a chance). Bryant and Castillo are probably on another team but Tomas may be floating around on your waiver wire. All 3 guys would be worth owning if you can get your hands on them.

2015 MLB Predictions

Baseball starts with Sunday night baseball or Opening Night as they call it with the Cardinals-Cubs!! Here are the 2015 predictions from The DoublePlay.

Kyle Head:

National League

  • East: Nationals
  • Central: Pirates
  • West: Dodgers
  • WC1 – Cardinals
  • WC2 – Padres

American League

  • East – Red Sox
  • Central – Tigers
  • West – Mariners
  • WC1 – Angels
  • WC2 – Blue Jays

World Series: Mariners over Dodgers(homer pick, I know!)

NL MVP: Clayton Kershaw

AL MVP: Mike Trout

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez

NL Rookie of Year: Joc Pederson

AL Rookie of Year: Daniel Norris

Brent Hodge:

National League

  • East: Nationals
  • Central: Cardinals
  • West: Dodgers
  • WC1 – Pirates
  • WC2 – Marlins

American League

  • East – Orioles
  • Central – Indians
  • West – Mariners
  • WC1 – Angels
  • WC2 – White Sox

World Series: Nationals over Indians

NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton

AL MVP: Mike Trout

NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale

NL Rookie of Year: Jorge Soler

AL Rookie of Year: Carlos Rodon

Justin Verlander – Buy Low or Sell Low

The Detroit Tigers announced that Justin Verlander will start the year on the 15-day DL with right triceps cramping. He is tentatively scheduled to start on April 12th but we shall see.

Now the question is do you try and trade Verlander(at a super low price) or trade for Verlander(for probably nothing).

Verlander won the Cy Young and MVP in 2011 with a 2.40 ERA and 24(!) wins. Verlander’s ERA has risen each year since and was at 4.54 in 32 starts in 2014. Looking deeper, he only had 159 strikeouts, breaking a streak of five years with 217+ K’s. You can check out all his stats here on BaseballReference.com.

His velocity is down each of the five seasons. Here is his four seam fastball averages:

  • 2010 – 95.5
  • 2011 – 95.0
  • 2012 – 94.7
  • 2013 – 94.0
  • 2014 – 93.1

Velocity doesn’t make or break everyone, Felix Hernandez and Jered Weaver have lost quite a bit off their fastball over the years but are still performing at a good level.

When you can throw it by people with a 100 MPH fastball like Verlander could just a couple of years ago, you can just throw. When your fastball is low 90’s you have to learn to pitch to get outs. You have to spot better and you have to have your secondary pitches working game in and game out.

So far, the former MVP hasn’t been able to adjust to his lowered velocity.

To start 2015, he is already having arm problems and the regular season hasn’t started yet. I’d be very cautious going forward if he is on your fantasy squad.

You have a few choices if you own JV.

1. You can trade him to fill a need on your team. Don’t look for a major return if you choose this path.

2. You can put him in the DL spot(if you have one in your league) and pick up a pitcher to fill in for him until he is healthy.

3. You can take a gamble and pick one of the weaker players on your squad to try and trade for him.

I’m worried his arm problems are going to bother him all year and I’m not convinced he is embracing the lower velocity yet.

I’d suggest going with option 1 above. I could be wrong but you will be able to found another pitcher that can give you what JV will from the waiver wire.

Stats via Fangraphs.com & BaseballReference.com

Hot & Not

Week 1: In the week leading up to the first games of the MLB season, you are finishing up your drafts and getting your rosters set for the upcoming year. Hot & Not will be a weekly update on guys in the Free Agent pool who you should be targeting and who you should be looking to trade or drop.

Who’s Hot:

Brad Boxberger(TB) – Boxberger is going to be the fill-in closer for the Rays for the first month or so of the season for Jake McGee(December elbow surgery). Boxberger gets a lot of K’s and should excel in the closers role. If he is available in your league and you need a reliever, we’d suggest you give him a look. McGee should be back in May but if Boxberger performs well in April, he could hold onto the job.

Mike Zunino(SEA) – The M’s catcher hit <.200 last year in his rookie campaign and is looking to improve his AVG plus cut down on his strikeouts. So far this spring he is hitting .333 with 6 HRs and 11 K’s in 17 games. Spring stats can be deceiving but if Zunino can hit around .250 and 20+HRs, he could be a steal in your fantasy draft or pick-up from your wavier wire.

Who’s Not:

Danny Salazer(CLE) – Salazer has a live arm and has the potential to be a good fantasy starting pitcher but it will have to wait, he got optioned to AAA and will not be in the Indians starting rotation to start the year. He is safe to drop(or don’t draft) in all Fantasy formats until an injury happens to one of the Indians starting 5.

Javy Baez(CHC) – One of the Cubs top prospects is trying to show what he can do to new Cubs Manager, Joe Madden, but so far this spring it’s more of the same. Baez has major upside but his downfall so far in his young career is way too many swings and misses. In Spring Training he has 20 K’s in 52 ABs. Until he proves he can cut down the strikeouts, stay away from Baez unless you can afford to stash him deep on your bench.

Fantasy Rankings: Starting Pitchers


Starting Pitching seems to come second on a lot of draft days behind hitters but pitching wins championships, even in Fantasy Baseball. Pitching is a very strong and deep group but getting an elite SP or two can carry your team. Be mindful of some guys that are ranked lower because they are coming off injuries such as Matt Harvey, Garrett Richards and Jose Fernandez.

Head:

1. Clayton Kershaw – I’d love to put King Felix here but I can’t. Kershaw pitches in the National League and can rack up K’s fast along with an ERA in the 2’s(or lower). Not much needs to be said here except if you get a chance, draft him.

2. Felix Hernandez – pretty clear number 2 pick. King Felix almost won his second Cy Young award last year. The Mariners are going to win some games this year so hopefully if you draft Felix, he can get close to 20 W’s with 200+ K’s.

3. Max Scherzer – I really like Scherzer in the NL East with the Nationals. He was named Opening Day starter and with the weaker NL lineups should easily surpass 200 K’s with around 17 or 18 wins.

Hodge

1. Clayton Kershaw – Mike Trout of the pitching world. Clear #1 SP in all of fantasy. He’ll probably win 20 games, strike out 250 batters, have an ERA around 2.00 and a sub 1.00 WHIP AKA numbers you put up on MLB The Show.

2. Felix Hernandez – He squashed any concerns about his possible velocity problems with a superb year in 2014. If you want an elite pitcher but don’t have a chance at Kershaw, here’s your guy. With Seattle revamping their offense this offseason, those should be wins of the past should turn into actual W’s this year.

3. Max Scherzer – I personally like the value of Scherzer the best out of the top 3 because you can get him in the 2nd round (3rd if you’re lucky) and can get a big bat to anchor your lineup along with a legit ace. Facing teams in a division that would have trouble hitting their way out of a wet paper bag, I expect Scherzer to have a big year and likely win his 2nd Cy Young Award.

4. Chris Sale

5. Madison Bumgarner

6. Corey Kluber  – AL Cy Young award winner. You may not know much about him but you should draft him if he is hanging around in the 4th or 5th round in your draft. (KH)

7. Stephen Strasburg

8. Johnny Cueto

9. David Price

10. Jon Lester

11. Zack Greinke

12. Jordan Zimmerman

13. Jeff Smardzjia

14. Matt Harvey – Looking great coming off Tommy John surgery. May be on an innings limit this year but could be a keeper that will be ranked as a top 5 SP next year if he returns to his 2013 self. (KH)

15. Cole Hamels

16. Adam Wainwright

17. Julio Teheran

18. Alex Cobb

19. Sonny Gray

20. James Shields

21. Gerrit Cole

22. Gio Gonzalez

23. Tyson Ross

24. Jacob DeGrom

25. Garrett Richards – If fully healthy for the entire year, would likely be higher on the list. Great value for his average draft position. (BH)

Sleepers:

Matt Cain – coming off injury and can be drafted late in drafts. If he can get back to anything close to what he was he will be a steal late in drafts.(KH)

Taijuan Walker – fighting for a spot in the Mariners rotation. He is pitching lights out this spring and is almost a lock to hold down a spot in the M’s rotation. Can be picked up late in drafts and a possibly keeper for years to come.(KH)

Jose Fernandez – everybody knows him but coming off Tommy John, Fernandez will be back sometime this year and could help lead your team to a championship with a late round pick-up. (KH)

Ian Kennedy – Probably the only pitcher being drafted passed round 12 that could rack up 200+ Ks. (BH)

Lance Lynn – Every year he slips in drafts and every year he puts up better numbers than where he was drafted. (BH)