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Staring Pitchers to Stream Week 6 (8/24-8/30) – Fantasy Baseball

Ok, weekly FreezeStats starting pitcher streamers are back! After a two week hiatus, let’s dive into my top streamers for each day next week (8/24-8/30). All options below are rostered in 25% or fewer of FantasyPros leagues. Without wasting anymore time, let’s get to it!



Alec Mills (CHC) – 25% rostered @DET: Monday, August 24th

The soft throwing lefty got punished his last time outing but still has allowed some of the weakest contact among starting pitchers this year. He’s allowed hard contact (BBE 95+ mph) just 25% of the time and an average exit velocity of only 82.9 mph! Over the last two weeks, the Tigers rank in the bottom third in K%, BB%, and wRC+. With a 51% ground ball rate and all that weak contact induced from Mills, I don’t expect he’ll get into much trouble against a weak Tigers offense. He likely won’t strike out more 3-4 batters but our options are slim on Monday.

 

Jose Quintana (CHC) – 24% rostered @DET: Tuesday – August 25th

The streaming field isn’t deep on Tuesday either. Guys like Adam Wainwright and Sandy Alcantara are good options but are over 25% rostered. I don’t have extremely high hopes for Quintana in his first start off the IL but the matchup is juicy. He’s no longer the pitcher he was a few years ago but I think he can provide positive value in this one with a good shot at a win. Going six innings this week isn’t likely but I’d expect a line similar to this: 5 IP, 5-6 baserunners, 2 ER, 4-5 K. Good enough given the options.

Danny Duffy (KCR) – 19% rostered @STL: Wednesday – August 26th

Duffy is quietly having a very solid 2020 season. He’s struck out nearly 10.5 batters per nine innings and has a career-best 20.8% K-BB%. There are only 20 qualified starters that currently have a WHIP below 1.00 and Duffy in one of them (0.99). I don’t expect his strikeout rate to continue at this pace but could see him settling in around a K per inning. This matchup could not be better for Duffy. The Cardinals offense is ranked 25th in wRC+ (89) over the last two weeks and they have struggled in limited at-bats against left-handed pitching this season. Duffy is my lock of the week.

Chad Kuhl (PIT) – 6% rostered @STL: Thursday – August 27th

I finally get to bring back my 2018 sleeper post with the awful title “Kuhl Story, Bro.” Kuhl’s been stretched out as a starter and has really impressed through 19 innings this year. His 2.84 ERA and 1.00 WHIP are amazing but likely won’t last thanks to an elevated strand rate and low BABIP. That being said, he has a solid repertoire firing 95 mph on his fastball and hurls an 88 mph slider. I don’t like his sinker (he needs to ditch it) but his slider is awesome. He’s allowed just a 34 wRC+ and earned a SwStr% of 21.1% with the pitch. Unfortunately, he’s not a lefty like Duffy but should be able to handle a weak Cardinals lineup next week.

Triston McKenzie (CLE) – 20% rostered @STL: Friday – August 28th

I also looked at Sixto Sánchez but after his debut, he’s rostered in over 25% of leagues. McKenzie was on fire in his debut allowing just two hits, walking one, and striking out 10! I know, I know, it was the Tigers but i was impressed with his command. That was my biggest concern given the lack of innings over the last couple seasons. While I don’t think we can expect similar performances going forward, it’s encouraging that he induced swings outside the zone nearly 40% of the time with a 16.3% SwStr% and a 40% CSW. I’ve already beat up on the Cardinals offense and without having seen McKenzie, I’ll give another edge to the lanky right-hander next week.


Tyler Mahle (CIN) – 5% rostered vs CHC: Saturday – August 29th

Streaming against the Cubs in a hitters park is risky, no doubt! But, the Cubs have cooled off a bit in August with a 98 wRC+ over the last two weeks. Additionally, as a team they have struck out 28.7% of the time over that stretch, highest in the Majors. Mahle’s strikeout rate this year is 28.6% backed by a 12.2% SwStr%, nearly three percent higher than in 2019. He’s been pounding his fastball up in the zone, so home runs could be an issue, but he’s suppressed them so far with just one homer across 13.1 IP. He’s allowed weak contact with an average EV of under 88 mph. This one could blow up in my face but on the flip side, he could also strikeout nine batters across six innings as well.

Alex Young (ARI) – 3% rostered vs SFG: Sunday – August 30th

OK, so the Giants are not who we thought they were at the beginning of the season. They don’t strike out much, they are hitting for power, and have won more games than we’ve expected. That being said, the Giants are actually worse on the road this year in terms of offensive production. As a team, the Giants have just an 80 wRC+ on the road this year. Alex Young has an interesting line this year. His 4.50 ERA is fine and his 1.17 WHIP is great. But, he’s given up three homers per nine innings, a 35% HR/FB rate! That’s not good but also likely to regress. He hasn’t gone 5 innings yet as a starter but has gone four-plus in both starts. Quality Start leagues should look elsewhere, but I’m betting he makes it through five in this one to qualify for the win. He’s not walking guys, so his line is going to come down to homers. If he gives up one or zero, we are golden, otherwise…




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8 Bold Predictions 2018 MLB Season – Results

The 2018 season is in the books, let’s see how I did on my eight bold predictions.  My original post is the black text and my current comments are in red. For comparison sake, I’ll use the ESPN Player Rater as it is more widely known even if I believe the Razzball Player Rater to be more accurate.


Delino DeShields (ADP 190) outperforms Starling Marte (ADP 49) in Standard 5×5
I’m not the biggest fan of Starling Marte coming into 2018 and the hype train is once again full steam ahead for Delino DeShields aka “The Dentist” (just like in 2016). On the surface, it’s easy to see DeShields pulling this one off because he’s finally been given the leadoff spot and there isn’t much competition for his job in center field. Obviously, he has to perform and get on base for the Rangers to keep him there. What I see is six home runs and 29 steals in only 440 plate appearances in 2017. Given 600 to 650 PA this year he could hit 10 home runs and steal 35-40 bases and while I don’t think he will hit for as high of an average as Marte, the run total should be around 90 given his 10% walk rate. My projections for Marte are .275-9-33, I just don’t believe in the power and he’s never been a great run producer.
Um, well ok. So Marte finished 27th on the ESPN Player Rater and Delino DeShields is nowhere to be found.  He’s been so bad, I’m not even willing to look up where he’s ranked. DeShields is hitting an embarrassing .209 with 2 homers and 20 steals in 384 plate appearances. His walk rate has improved and his strikeout rate has decreased which leaves his plummeting BABIP as the culprit. Marte on the other hand had a great season and his power has returned. My projections more or less nailed his batting average and stolen bases but he nearly doubled my HR projection. This one was just straight BAD. 0 for 1

Ozzie Albies hits 25 home runs, steals 30 bases and is a top 25 player
I’ve seen a lot of people ridiculously high on Albies, but not many are predicting 20 home runs let alone 25; that’s what makes this one bold. I threw in the top 25 player ranking even though almost anyone who goes 25/30 is likely a top 25 player. The steals aren’t as crazy because he stole 29 bases in 154 games in 2017 (AAA and MLB) and 30 in 2016 between AA and AAA plus scouts have tabbed him at 70-grade speed out of 80. Here’s where it gets bold; he is being projected for between 10 and 15 home runs, so where do I get 25? Albies changed his approach early in 2017 to try and elevate the ball more which he accomplished upping his fly ball rate from about 30% in 2016 to 39% in 2017. He ended up hitting 15 home runs between AAA and the Majors which was 9 more than in 2016. He’s continued this trend in the spring with a ground out/air out ratio of 0.73, meaning he’s hitting only about 40% ground balls and 60% LD+FB. Let’s assume 41% FB rate for 2018 with 650 PA for Albies (hitting 2nd for 150+ games) with a 17% K rate and an 8% BB rate. That comes out to about 485 balls in play at 41% FB rate with a HR/FB rate of 12.6% comes out to 25 HR. I believe.
When Albies came out in April absolutely crushing baseballs, I though this one has a great shot. However, Albies never managed to steal many bases attempting only 16 and successful on 13. Albies has managed a high success rate but a lower walk rate and batting average than I projected are only part of the problem. I’m interested to see if he will run more next year because if he doesn’t I don’t think his fantasy upside will meet my lofty expectations.  0 for 2



Patrick Corbin is a top 20 Starting Pitcher
Here are the statistics from the 20th best SP in 2017: 10 Wins, 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 209 strikeouts. That’s Yu Darvish if you’re wondering. Kind of a mixed bag, low win total, high(ish) ERA, low WHIP and a lot of strikeouts. My projections for Corbin this year are 13 Wins, 3.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 179 strikeouts. More wins and a better ERA but fewer strikeouts and a higher WHIP, but that would definitely be good for a top 30 stater for sure. I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to assume more wins (he did win 14 games in 189 innings in 2017) and maybe a few more strikeouts given 200 innings pitched (I have him projected for 190) to put him right around the top 20. He’s got a 50+% ground ball rate, a Swstr rate of 11% last year, the humidor should help with some of his HR issues as well as the high BABIP effectively lowering his projected ERA and WHIP.
BOOM! Corbin checks in as the #11 SP on the ESPN Player Rater just behind Trevor Bauer and ahead of Luis Severino. Corbin was much impressive than I even imagined. You can see my projections for Corbin above and he blew that shit out of the water. Who would have guessed that Corbin would introduce a spinoff (get it?) of his already great slider and throw them combined nearly 45% of the time? Those Ks are gorgeous and that propelled him into the elite. Nailed it! 1 for 3

Lewis Brinson Outperforms Byron Buxton in Standard 5×5
Brinson should be given every opportunity to show his skills this year in Miami because let’s face it, there’s really no else that should take his spot. He’s mashing this spring to the tune of .339/.377/.607 triple slash line and RosterResource has him leading off! Brinson doesn’t have the speed Buxton does (not many do) but I feel that Brinson will be the better hitter long-term and takes a step in that direction in 2018. I think given a full season, Brinson is more than capable of hitting 20 homers and stealing 15-18 bases while hitting .260-.275. That’s good enough to keep him in the leadoff spot (if he can walk a little) and with Castro, Realmuto, and Bour hitting behind him, I can see 85+ runs. Buxton, on the other hand, may hit 8th or 9th so that’s a killer for run production. I can see Buxton struggle to hit for average again and while I like his ability to hit 15-20 homers with 30 steals, I think Brinson has a chance to outperform him.
So technically Brinson outperformed Buxton this year, so it’s a win. However, it’s one of the saddest wins ever. Now that 2018 has come and gone, this doesn’t seem that old, but remember the hype on Buxton coming into the season? He was being touted as a top-50 player by some perts. His ADP settled in the 60s and Brinson was between 250 and 300, so yes, this was bold, but both greatly under-performed and that’s a understatement. Have I used “under” enough here? I’m underwhelmed, let’s move on. 2 for 4

Joey Gallo leads the majors in home runs with 50 AND Hits .245 with 10 steals
At first, I thought about just doing 50 homers and 10 steals, but he’s such a beast, if he’s given 650 plate appearances, 50 homers is basically a lock. However, given his 37% K rate, a .245 average is a long shot. He did cut his K rate to under 35% in the second half last year and his BABIP, which was .250, had a xBABIP of about .275. Using a 34% K rate and a BABIP of .275, I still fall short of a .245 batting average, so this prediction needs a bit of luck to something like a BABIP of .290, now that’s possible! For the HRs, he needs to keep his 52% FB rate with his 30% HR/FB rate and 615 plate appearances. Steals can be fluky but he did steal seven bases in only 532 plate appearances, so three more in 85 more PA is certainly possible.
I saw some other “bold predictions” that had Gallo hitting something like .230 with 45 homers? How is that bold? I went a little further but i did not pan out. Gallo was essentially the same player he was in 2017 even though he showed improvements in the first half. Gallo probably needs to cut his K rate to below 32% to have a shot at hitting near .250. 2 for 5

Chad Kuhl outperforms Gerrit Cole in all fantasy categories other than wins
This is more about Kuhl taking a big step forward than significant regression for Cole. The categories I’m referencing in my prediction are ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. Cole’s numbers last year were 4.26/1.25 with 196 strikeouts; Kuhl last year: 4.35/1.47 with 142 strikeouts in 157 innings. Cole has a career K rate of 8.44 and will no longer get to face the pitcher two or three times a game. I’m expecting a slight K rate drop to 8.2. His innings should go down with all the able body long relievers/spot starters (Peacock, McHugh), the 10-day DL, and his ratios should be around 4.00 and 1.25. I do believe Kuhl is a much better pitcher than his numbers indicated last year and a significant walk rate decrease is in order to keep his WHIP in check. I could see a 4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP from Kuhl but how about the strikeouts? Kuhl throws 96 mph with a nasty slider that he only threw 20% of the time last year. If he throws that more and can locate his fastball, he could be around a 9.0 K/9. With that rate, he would only have to throw about 175 innings to Cole’s 190 IP.
Uhhhhhhhh, whoops. This one is so bad I don’t even know what to say. The Astros unlocked Cole’s magic and Kuhl looked good at times then was lost to injury midway through the season.  Let’s move along. 2 for 6



The Phillies make the playoffs
Hoskins, Kingery, Santana, Arrieta! Other than 50 games from Hoskins, those are all new ML players for the Phillies this year. All of them should be worth between 2.0 WAR to 4.3 WAR. I also think Nola takes a step forward as well and you lose the likes of Tommy Joseph who was worth -1.1 WAR (yuck) in 2017 and Michael Saunders who was worth -0.7 WAR. I also believe Maikel Franco (-0.5 WAR) improves this year and Odubel Herrera takes a step forward. Now, this is all very unscientific and you can’t just say all of these players/improvements are worth 20+ wins this year (which would put them at 86 wins). Right now they are projected for 75 wins, good for 11th best in the NL. To reach a top-five spot in the NL makes this prediction bold.
(Here is what I wrote mid-season) Ok, this one is looking good.  The Phillies are currently in first place in the NL East by 1 game over Atlanta and 5.5 games ahead of the Nationals. I expect the Nationals to get hot, but even if the Phillies lost the lead in the division, they would still have a very good shot at making one of the two Wild Card slots. I gave them a 60% chance to make the playoffs and they completely feel apart. The offense went to sleep and the pitching staff outside of Nola was bad and inconsistent. I’ll take my L. 2 for 7

Tim Beckham outperforms Justin Upton in Standard 5×5
Yeah, even this one is hard for me to believe. Upton is coming off a career year hitting 35 home runs, stealing 14 bases and driving in 109 runs and now he gets to hit behind Mike Trout. It’s not that I think Beckham will put up those numbers but I think Upton is a bit of a letdown in 2018 after signing a big contract with the Angels. I think Upton’s batting average goes back to the .255 range and his power falls back to around 27-30. At age 30, his speed will continue to dwindle and an 8-10 steal season is likely. Now, for Beckham, he needs to build on his second half of 2017 and now with a full season in Baltimore and an increase in fly ball percentage indicated by his Spring Training GO/AO ratio tells me he can hit 30 home runs. That’s his ground out/air out ratio which is under 1.0 during Spring Training. He’s also not a zero in terms of speed so 8-10 steals is possible. If he hits .260, he’s right on par with Justin Upton. This is a longshot, but that’s what makes it bold.
I was expecting regression from Upton and that made this one a possibility. However, Tim Beckham turned back into, well, Tim Beckham. It’s too bad because he actually cut his K rate by nearly 5% but his hard contact plummeted. Yes, he missed time but he’s starting to look like a .230 hitter with 18-20 homer power and that’s about it. 2 for 8

Overall I’m hitting .250, so better than Gallo and Tim Beckham for what that’s worth. Considering the low probability of some of these predictions, I’m happy with the results. I suppose the Albies predictions is a partial win, he fell one HR shy of 25 homers which was probably more bold than the 30 steals in the preseason. Even though he finished outside the top 50 on the ESPN Player Rater, he did end up ranked 39th on the Razzball Player Rater. 



Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 8

Well last week wasn’t great but Hellickson dominated and we did get that huge strikeout performance from Vincent Velasquez against the suddenly strikeout-prone Giants. What’s interesting is that the Giants, previously known for putting the ball in play (only 19.6% K rate as a team in 2017), are now striking out 25% of the time as a team. They’re also in the bottom third of the league in wOBA. It’s becoming apparent that we need to move the Giants into the “stream against” category, especially with their home park being as pitcher friendly as any in the league. Some other teams in the bottom third in both K rate and wOBA: Padres, Orioles, Rockies (surprise), and Rangers. I’d throw the Marlins in there as well as they are last in the league in wOBA and middle of the pack in K rate. I don’t expect the Rockies to stay there, and obviously you’re not streaming in Coors.

Tyler Anderson (COL) 8% away vs SD 5/14 and away vs 5/20 SF
Anderson gets two starts next week both on the road against the Padres who are 2nd to last in wOBA, and against the Giants who are 23rd in wOBA. Anytime a pitcher is throwing outside of Coors he gets a bump. Anderson is no exception and he’s increased his K rate and swinging strike rates. Both teams he faces this week are in the bottom five (or top five depending how you look at it) in strikeout rate, meaning they strikeout a lot. I’m not a fan of Anderson’s new sinker but his change up and cutter have been pretty good. I’m starting him with confidence in both starts. STREAM

Sal Romano (CIN) 1% Away vs SF 5/14
Romano has been getting it done with smoke and mirrors thus far in 2018. His K rate and walk rate are much too close for my liking. In an era when everyone strikes out, Romano can’t even muster a K/9 of over 6.0. His fastball has not be effective like it was in the minors and while the Giants don’t scare me at all, I think the veteran hitters like Posey, McCutchen, and Longoria get to Romano in this one. I see a short 4 inning start with crooked numbers in a bad way. STAY AWAY

Nick Pivetta (PHI) 25% Away vs BAL on 5/15
I’m not sure how Pivetta is only 25% owned in Yahoo and ESPN leagues. He’s had a couple of rough starts where he’s been BABIP’ed to death but his HR/9 remains stellar at 0.92/9. He still sports a 9.7 K/9 and a 2.3 BB/9, those are fantasy #2 type numbers. Now, I’m not calling him a #2 but he should be owned in all leagues. I don’t love this one on the road where he has to face a DH but the Orioles are not good you guys. The only teams with lower wOBA are the Marlins and Padres. They also are in the bottom five in walk rate. As long as Pivetta can avoid Machado, he should go 6-7 IP with 6-7 Ks and solid ratios. STREAM

Chad Kuhl (PIT) 13% at Home vs SD 5/17
I had hopes for Kuhl to have a solid season and so far it’s more of the same. He’s very inconsistent start to start. I’m not worried about the Padres as a club, it’s more about can we trust Kuhl? The walks are down, the strikeouts are up a hair, his velocity is 96+ mph, but he’s been killed by the long ball. His curve and his slider are his two best pitches but he only throws them 29% of the time. It’s hard to feel confident in this one, but he is pitching at home where he’s been better and again, against a weak opponent. I’m going with this one if I’m desperate hoping for 5+ Ks, 3 ER and a win. STREAM but with caution.

Kyle Gibson (MIN) 25% at Home vs MIL 5/18
Right on the cusp of being owned in too many formats, but Gibson gets the Brewers at home in this one. Milwaukee gets to add a DH but with Thames out, they area little thin offensively. Surprisingly, the Brewers are in the bottom six in terms of team wOBA. I mentioned this last week, Gibson is good and needs to be owned, it’s just going to take a while for the fantasy community to come around on the 30-year-old. Every single one of his pitches have seen increased swing and miss percentages with the exception of his four-seamer. But he’s essentially eliminated that pitch as its usage is under 10%. He’s got to get his walks under control but a high ground ball rate and limiting barreled contact should keep this start within 3 ER or less with 6 to 7 strikeouts. STREAM

Andrew Heaney (LAA) 5% at Home vs TB on 5/19 or 5/20
Heaney has always had trouble staying healthy and I’m not touching him for his first start on Monday against the Astros but if he comes out of that one in tact, I like him in the start against the Rays. His surface numbers aren’t great but he’s rolling with a high BABIP of .347 and a low LOB rate of 64%. His strikeout rate is over 25% and his walk rate is 7%. He’s also inducing a lot of weak contact at over 10% which is over his 8% barreled contact. For the first time in his career he’s getting more weak contact than barreled balls. The Rays offense is better than anticipated but they don’t hit for a lot of power. I think Heaney rolls against the Rays next weekend. STREAM

Week 4 SP Streaming Options 4/23 – 4/29

Ended up with some solid streams last week with a final line of:

2 Wins 2.92 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 28 K in 31 1/3 innings

Let’s keep it going this week.

Trevor Cahill (OAK) 1% 4/23 on the road v TEX
I would have preferred that this one was is Oakland but Rangers are a big swing and miss team and haven’t hit their stride yet offensively.  Cahill looked good in his first start and his fastball velocity was over 93 mph along with an increased curveball usage (which is his best pitch). Maybe he can capture some early season success similar to last year. STREAM

Matt Boyd (DET) 6% 4/25 road  v PIT
The fact that this is on the road doesn’t bother me. PNC Park is a fine pitchers park and Boyd should face the pitcher at least twice instead of the DH. However, Boyd is a lefty and many of the Pirates best hitters are right handed or switch hitters. Boyd sports a 5.1 K/9, a 98% left on base percentage, and a .132 BABIP. I’m betting on shit going sideways in this one. STAY AWAY

Chad Kuhl (PIT) 3% 4/24 at home v DET
My love/hate relationship continues with Kuhl. He throws 96 mph with a very good slider. Except he’s throwing that slider less. Hmmm, that’s odd. He’s been hurt by a .371 BABIP but he also isn’t getting many whiffs or hitters to chase. I can’t recommend Kuhl against the Tigers. They aren’t scary but have some professional hitters that I believe will get to Kuhl knocking him out early in this one. STAY AWAY

Ivan Nova (PIT) 25% 4/26 home v DET
Seems like I’m picking on the Tigers this week. They have been heating up recently, so it might not be the cake walk most think. However, Nova has been solid over his last several starts going at least 6 innings with 3 runs or less in his last three while striking out an uncharacteristic 18 batters in just over 19 innings. His ground ball tendencies should hold up against the mostly weak hitting Tigers. The fact that the best hitters on the Tigers are right handed lies in Nova’s favor. STREAM

Tyler Anderson (COL) 3% 4/27 road v Mia
I’m not a fan of Tyler Anderson but a road start against the Marlins changes that. Anderson pitched well at home against the Cubs on Saturday, maybe he can carry it into this start. He’s inducing a lot of swings and misses which appears to be more smoke and mirrors. This one is risky especially if his control is bad. With warmer weather, I think his control will be better, I’m rolling with one. STREAM

Zack Wheeler (NYM) 22% 4/28 road v SD
The Mets have moved Harvey to the bullpen meaning Wheeler has a shot at staying in the rotation for the time being. Wheeler’s velocity looks good in his first 2 starts. He’s dropped the sinker and his slider is still a good pitch. I like his chances against a young inexperienced Padres team. STREAM

Eight Bold Predictions for 2018

Delino DeShields (ADP 190) outperforms Starling Marte (ADP 49) in Standard 5×5
I’m not the biggest fan of Starling Marte coming into 2018 and the hype train is once again full steam ahead for Delino DeShields aka “The Dentist” (just like in 2016). On the surface, it’s easy to see DeShields pulling this one off because he’s finally been given the leadoff spot and there isn’t much competition for his job in center field. Obviously, he has to perform and get on base for the Rangers to keep him there. What I see is six home runs and 29 steals in only 440 plate appearances in 2017. Given 600 to 650 PA this year he could hit 10 home runs and steal 35-40 bases and while I don’t think he will hit for as high of an average as Marte, the run total should be around 90 given his 10% walk rate. My projections for Marte are .275-9-33, I just don’t believe in the power and he’s never been a great run producer.

Ozzie Albies hits 25 home runs, steals 30 bases and is a top 25 player
I’ve seen a lot of people ridiculously high on Albies, but not many are predicting 20 home runs let alone 25; that’s what makes this one bold. I threw in the top 25 player ranking even though almost anyone who goes 25/30 is likely a top 25 player. The steals aren’t as crazy because he stole 29 bases in 154 games in 2017 (AAA and MLB) and 30 in 2016 between AA and AAA plus scouts have tabbed him at 70-grade speed out of 80. Here’s where it gets bold; he is being projected for between 10 and 15 home runs, so where do I get 25? Albies changed his approach early in 2017 to try and elevate the ball more which he accomplished upping his fly ball rate from about 30% in 2016 to 39% in 2017. He ended up hitting 15 home runs between AAA and the Majors which was 9 more than in 2016. He’s continued this trend in the spring with a ground out/air out ratio of 0.73, meaning he’s hitting only about 40% ground balls and 60% LD+FB. Let’s assume 41% FB rate for 2018 with 650 PA for Albies (hitting 2nd for 150+ games) with a 17% K rate and an 8% BB rate. That comes out to about 485 balls in play at 41% FB rate with a HR/FB rate of 12.6% comes out to 25 HR. I believe.

Patrick Corbin is a top 20 Starting Pitcher
Here are the statistics from the 20th best SP in 2017: 10 Wins, 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 209 strikeouts. That’s Yu Darvish if you’re wondering. Kind of a mixed bag, low win total, high(ish) ERA, low WHIP and a lot of strikeouts. My projections for Corbin this year are 13 Wins, 3.65 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 179 strikeouts. More wins and a better ERA but fewer strikeouts and a higher WHIP, but that would definitely be good for a top 30 stater for sure. I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch to assume more wins (he did win 14 games in 189 innings in 2017) and maybe a few more strikeouts given 200 innings pitched (I have him projected for 190) to put him right around the top 20. He’s got a 50+% ground ball rate, a Swstr rate of 11% last year, the humidor should help with some of his HR issues as well as the high BABIP effectively lowering his projected ERA and WHIP.

Lewis Brinson Outperforms Byron Buxton in Standard 5×5
Brinson should be given every opportunity to show his skills this year in Miami because let’s face it, there’s really no else that should take his spot. He’s mashing this spring to the tune of .339/.377/.607 triple slash line and RosterResource has him leading off! Brinson doesn’t have the speed Buxton does (not many do) but I feel that Brinson will be the better hitter long-term and takes a step in that direction in 2018. I think given a full season, Brinson is more than capable of hitting 20 homers and stealing 15-18 bases while hitting .260-.275. That’s good enough to keep him in the leadoff spot (if he can walk a little) and with Castro, Realmuto, and Bour hitting behind him, I can see 85+ runs. Buxton, on the other hand, may hit 8th or 9th so that’s a killer for run production. I can see Buxton struggle to hit for average again and while I like his ability to hit 15-20 homers with 30 steals, I think Brinson has a chance to outperform him.

Joey Gallo leads the majors in home runs with 50 AND Hits .245 with 10 steals
At first, I thought about just doing 50 homers and 10 steals, but he’s such a beast, if he’s given 650 plate appearances, 50 homers is basically a lock. However, given his 37% K rate, a .245 average is a long shot. He did cut his K rate to under 35% in the second half last year and his BABIP, which was .250, had a xBABIP of about .275. Using a 34% K rate and a BABIP of .275, I still fall short of a .245 batting average, so this prediction needs a bit of luck to something like a BABIP of .290, now that’s possible! For the HRs, he needs to keep his 52% FB rate with his 30% HR/FB rate and 615 plate appearances. Steals can be fluky but he did steal seven bases in only 532 plate appearances, so three more in 85 more PA is certainly possible.

Chad Kuhl outperforms Gerrit Cole in all fantasy categories other than wins
This is more about Kuhl taking a big step forward than significant regression for Cole. The categories I’m referencing in my prediction are ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts. Cole’s numbers last year were 4.26/1.25 with 196 strikeouts; Kuhl last year: 4.35/1.47 with 142 strikeouts in 157 innings. Cole has a career K rate of 8.44 and will no longer get to face the pitcher two or three times a game. I’m expecting a slight K rate drop to 8.2. His innings should go down with all the able body long relievers/spot starters (Peacock, McHugh), the 10-day DL, and his ratios should be around 4.00 and 1.25. I do believe Kuhl is a much better pitcher than his numbers indicated last year and a significant walk rate decrease is in order to keep his WHIP in check. I could see a 4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP from Kuhl but how about the strikeouts? Kuhl throws 96 mph with a nasty slider that he only threw 20% of the time last year. If he throws that more and can locate his fastball, he could be around a 9.0 K/9. With that rate, he would only have to throw about 175 innings to Cole’s 190 IP.

The Phillies make the playoffs
Hoskins, Kingery, Santana, Arrieta! Other than 50 games from Hoskins, those are all new ML players for the Phillies this year. All of them should be worth between 2.0 WAR to 4.3 WAR. I also think Nola takes a step forward as well and you lose the likes of Tommy Joseph who was worth -1.1 WAR (yuck) in 2017 and Michael Saunders who was worth -0.7 WAR. I also believe Maikel Franco (-0.5 WAR) improves this year and Odubel Herrera takes a step forward. Now, this is all very unscientific and you can’t just say all of these players/improvements are worth 20+ wins this year (which would put them at 86 wins). Right now they are projected for 75 wins, good for 11th best in the NL. To reach a top-five spot in the NL makes this prediction bold.

Tim Beckham outperforms Justin Upton in Standard 5×5
Yeah, even this one is hard for me to believe. Upton is coming off a career year hitting 35 home runs, stealing 14 bases and driving in 109 runs and now he gets to hit behind Mike Trout. It’s not that I think Beckham will put up those numbers but I think Upton is a bit of a letdown in 2018 after signing a big contract with the Angels. I think Upton’s batting average goes back to the .255 range and his power falls back to around 27-30. At age 30, his speed will continue to dwindle and an 8-10 steal season is likely. Now, for Beckham, he needs to build on his second half of 2017 and now with a full season in Baltimore and an increase in fly ball percentage indicated by his Spring Training GO/AO ratio tells me he can hit 30 home runs. That’s his ground out/air out ratio which is under 1.0 during Spring Training. He’s also not a zero in terms of speed so 8-10 steals is possible. If he hits .260, he’s right on par with Justin Upton. This is a longshot, but that’s what makes it bold.

Chad Kuhl Story Bro – Fantasy Outlook

There are several types of sleepers, the early to mid-round guys who have the upside to be top 25 players, the mid-late round guys (200ish overall) who have a chance to be top 100+/- and the guys who are basically going undrafted in all but 16 team or 30 man roster leagues.  AKA guys that make you fall asleep faster than watching afternoon golf of tv.  Chad Kuhl is that guy! But maybe he can be more than that.

Because he’s either undrafted or a late-late flier, you don’t need much to get value from him.  Quick overview about Mr. Kuhl. His name alone is worth it.  You could name your team something like Kuhl’s Out for the Summer or Kuhl Hand Luke.  You probably have to be over 45 to get those references.  Anyways, back to Kuhl.  He’s 25, he’s a sinker / slider guy and mixes a change and curve; he averages nearly 97 MPH on his fastball.  This sounds like Charlie Morton, but not young Charlie Morton, he never threw that hard.  The old/current Charlie Morton who is good now and World Series Champ.  So that’s good but he hasn’t quite gotten the swings and misses you’d expect from a pitcher with that profile.  Some scouts say his fastball is too straight and maybe that’s part of the problem. Another take that I saw on Twitter from Eno Sarris is the heatmap below of his sinker: 

(courtesy of Eno Sarris on Twitter) Basically, it’s not a bad pitch but his location of the pitch is way too middle-middle. It appears he’s got consistent control with that pitch, he just needs to control it down in the zone. That tells me it can and should be discovered and that he can correct it.

Taking a look at the plate discipline since his call up in 2016, he threw 70 IP in 2016 (+83 in the minors) and 157 IP in 2017 (all in the majors).  His K rates improved but his walk rates regressed.

Season Age O-Swing% O-Contact% Z-Contact% Contact% SwStr%
2016 23 26.4% 65.7% 87.5% 80.3% 8.9%
2017 24 27.7% 63.4% 86.3% 78.5% 9.5%

Keep in mind the MLB average contact% is 80%. These are marginal improvements but they seem to justify the improvement in K rate and I think there is room to improve.  Not shown here, but his Zone % and F-Strike % both increased in 2017 so I have no idea how his BB rate jumped over 10% when his previous career high at any level was 6.7%! I’m thinking the BB rate will drop back down below 10% and settle around 8.5% this year. If you combine a K% near 22% and a BB% around 8.5% you’re looking at a potential #3 fantasy starter.

Back to the negatives. He’s been bad against lefties but some of that is bad luck with an elevated BABIP but it could also be that lefties can time up his fastball judging by the nearly 40% hard hit rate off of it in 2017.  Yikes!  All we really need is a slight improvement against lefties to justify a top 60 SP price.  I’ll bet on young talent as there have been some positive adjustments already from year one to year two.

2018 Projection: 10 W, 4.06 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 162 Ks in 175 IP. He’s an afterthought going as late as 400 overall or SP 110 around guys like Jose Urena and Brandon Woodruff. He might not be super exciting but the numbers I project would have been the SP 65, 225 overall in 2017. Any 14+ team leagues or expanded roster leagues need to jump all over him.