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Week 6 Rundown: Buy/Sell/Hold – Fantasy Baseball

This article will be covering the last 14 days. What kind of weekly rundown covers the last two weeks? This one I guess. I ultimately wanted to get this out last week but the Home Run Park Factors article took a little bit longer than anticipated. Maybe I should have called this a bi-monthly Rundown? Anyways, here we are, one week into May and Jose Ramirez is still hitting below .200 while Cody Bellinger is hitting over .200 points higher. Let’s dive into who’s hot and who’s not. I’ll give advice on whether or not the players are buys, sells, or holds.

Blazing Hot

Michael Chavis (2B/3B – BOS)
Chavis is batting a smoking hot .320 with six homers, two steals and a combined 26 R+RBI over the last two weeks. His power is no doubt legit but I’ve got questions about Chavis going forward. Will he continue getting playing time when Dustin Pedroia returns? What does his batting average look like once his .344 BABIP comes down? Putting Pedroia aside for a second, Chavis is carrying a 47% fly ball rate and doesn’t have great speed. Fenway does inflate BABIP, but I’d still expect at least a 40 point drop in BABIP. His 73.3% contact rate and high swing and miss rate tells me a 25-30% strikeout rate is likely. Best case for Chavis is something like .260 with 25-30 homers. That’s nice, but dammit, I forgot about Pedroia. He’s never healthy but working back on a rehab assignment. Chavis could lose anywhere from 10 to 50 games to the oft-injured second baseman. Chavis is a moderate sell/hold at this point in redrafts.

Anthony Rizzo (1B – CHC)
After a slow start, Rizzo is hitting .327 with six bombs and an incredible 16 RBI over the last 14 days. Rizzo is a machine. His contact rates have been near an elite level for the last several years. His power appeared to be declining in 2018 but the juiced or modified ball should help Rizzo once again reach the 30 home Run plateau. However, we should temper expectations because he’s currently running a career-high 20% HR/FB rate despite a career-low pull rate. That being said, his .228 BABIP will come up and when it does, Rizzo should settle in around .280-.285 with an outside shot at his first .300 season. 

Adalberto Mondesi (2B/SS – KC)
One of the most polarizing players in the fantasy community over the offseason is smokin’ hot. He’s hitting over .320 with three bombs and three steals over the past two weeks while driving in 17 runs. During that stretch, he’s striking out just 20% of the time which is an improvement on his 26.8% rate to date. He’s proving that his second half last year was not a fluke. What’s most impressive to me is his six triples and 20 extra base hits through 36 games. That’s a pace of 90 total XBH over the course of the entire season. A quick check at his Statcast metrics shows that regression is coming, but mostly in terms of batting average. His xAVG of .246 is .034 points below his actual batting average. However, his barrel rate is a strong 14.2%, so he should actually have a few more homers. If I’m an owner, I’m holding. He’s going to swing a ton, strikeout a lot, hit homers and steal a ton of bases this year, that’s a fact.

Chris Paddack (SP – SD)
20.2 innings pitched, two earned runs, 25 strikeouts, and only 12 base runners. I’ll take what are Chris Paddack’s stats from his last three outings for $1,000 Alex. It’s almost as if Paddack is facing minor league hitters. He’s sporting a cool 1.55 ERA with an unthinkable 0.69 WHIP on the season. He’s great, I like him a lot but he should be sold in redrafts. In keeper and dynasty, obviously, he’s a hold and congrats! Here’s where regression is coming, a .176 BABIP and 5.3% HR/FB. In this era!?!  Look, his changeup is great, and his fastball is pretty good. His third pitch is a curveball that isn’t any good and only throws it 10% of the time. I foresee issues against teams he faces two and three times and the third time through the order. Besides, he likely won’t throw more than 140 innings. You’ve got ace production from him though this point, now flip him for a top 30 bat.

Martin Perez (SP – MIN)
Credit Dan Hayes for reporting on Perez’s increased velocity this spring. All he’s done in his last 21 innings is strike out 20 batters while giving up just one run compiling three wins. He can’t really keep this up, can he? Well, his BABIP and strand rates are neutral, so that’s a good sign. His walk rate is a touch high at 9.4%, so there’s a little concern there. He’s only allowed two home runs after giving up a whopping 16 in only 85 innings last year when he pitched for the Rangers. Sure, he won’t sustain a home run rate under 0.5 per nine innings but he’s not the same pitcher he was in 2018. The main reason for his success is his new cutter. He’s slinging it 35% of the time which has helped him raise his SwStr rate four percent from last year. He’s also getting a solid called strikes plus swinging strikes (CSW) rate of 29%. Perez should be owned in all leagues, so go ahead and add him. Some bumps will come along the road given his walk rate and some home run regression but he doesn’t have enough value to sell yet at this point.

Freezing Cold

Corey Seager (SS-LAD)
Coming off of the Tommy John Surgery, it’s no surprise that Seager is off to a slow start. Over the last two weeks, he’s hitting just .178 with no home runs and four RBI. I’m not all that optimistic that Seager is going to provide value given his ADP around 85-90 this year. The Dodgers feel content batting him second and he’s still taking walks, so runs should be plentiful. Seager’s strikeout rate is up and the lower contact rates reflect that. I think he will get his timing back, so strikeouts shouldn’t be a long term issue. Where I’m concerned is his batted ball profile. He’s increased his fly ball rate but not the quality of his fly balls. He’s increased his popup rate and hitting 58% of his fly balls to the opposite field. That’s where fly balls go to die. Batters want to pull their fly balls to hit home runs, something Seager is doing on under 10% of his fly balls. I’m selling Seager to an owner who still believes in a .300 hitter with 25-30 homer pop.

Wil Myers (1B/OF – SD)
Myers has managed to hit just .119 with one home run and three RBI over the last two weeks. His problem is more with strikeouts than anything. Myers has never been a guy to make a ton of contact, but he’s sitting at a career-worst 35.9% strikeout rate. Both his contact and swinging strike rates are at career-worsts. He’s not even expanding the zone either as he’s right around league average. Overall, the quality of his batted balls are fine but I can’t find any reason to buy Myers at this point. He does have six homers and two steals so it’s possible owners could float some offers out there.

Jackie Bradley Jr. (OF – BOS)
Bradley is hitting just .171 with no homers, one steal, and three RBI in the last two weeks. I led all of you astray with my JBJ love this offseason. He’s been flat out terrible this year hitting a miserable .147 on the season without a home run. It’s not just one thing either. His strikeout rate is through the roof, his hard hit rate is down over 10%, and he’s hitting more ground balls at the expense of line drives. While I don’t see him being this bad all year as his .224 BABIP is 70 points below his career BABIP, but he’s at risk of losing playing time. He is streaky, so if he continues to get playing time, grab him if he gets hot. You’ve ditched him in all shallow leagues and he’s even a drop in 15-team mixed at this point. Sorry, Fam.

Carter Kieboom (2B/SS – WAS)
Note: Kieboom was sent back to Triple-A yesterday, so this write-up while moot may still provide value going forward.
Kieboom is hitting just .128 with those two early home runs, four runs and only two RBI the last two weeks. A 37.2% strikeout rate is largely to blame, but so is a .143 BABIP. Kieboom does hit the ball hard but the expected metrics are not good for him. Against fastball this year, he’s 0 for 20 with eight strikeouts. How is that even possible? It’s too bad his contact rates are so poor because he has a solid idea of the strike zone. Look, Kieboom is just 21 years old, so he’s far from a finished product, I just don’t believe he’s ready for the show. Once Turner comes back, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kieboom was sent back down. Between Dozier and Kendrick manning second base, there will be no place for Kieboom.

Cole Tucker (SS – PIT)
Tucker is hitting just .184 with zero home runs, zero steals, zero RBI, and three runs the last 14 days. The difference between Kieboom and Tucker is playing time. The Pirates have no one else to play shortstop, so they should let Tucker ride this stretch out. Tucker isn’t used to seeing strikeout rates over 30% as he was regularly in the high-teens, low-20s in the minors. I think he could provide some value later in the year given his elite speed and adjustments. However, at this point, he can be dropped.

Kyle Freeland (SP – COL)
Freeland has a bloated 9.75 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP and five homers given up over his last two starts since coming off the disabled list. That WHIP has come on just a low .238 BABIP in that stretch. Freeland’s pitch mix is nearly identical to last year. So is his velocity and so are his strikeout and walk rates. The only difference is his home run rate has gone from one of the best in the league to 13th-highest at 1.82 per nine innings. 2018 was a dream season for Freeland and his owners but the reality is starting to set in. The fact that he is unable to generate whiffs at a high rate and carries a high walk rate just doesn’t provide much value. I think Freeland curbs the home run rate down to the 1.3 per nine range but he will not sustain the .238 BABIP. Go ahead and sell in deep league but he should not be owned in shallow mixed leagues.

Kevin Gausman (SP – ATL)
Kevin Gausman is riding a four-game run with a 7.71 ERA, a 1.84 WHIP, and nine walks. Gausman was looking like an ace through his first few starts but has really fallen apart recently. It’s interesting to note that Gausman has essentially eliminated his slider and has become a two-pitch pitcher with a fastball and a splitter. The splitter has seen most of the increase from the slider. That’s the main reason his swinging strike rate has increased by nearly two percent. A peek at Statcast shows Gausman has allowed some very weak contact and low exit velocities. I was not optimistic coming into this but Gausman may just be a buy. I’m a little concerned about his lack of a third pitch, so I hope he does add one going forward. If he does, he could provide very nice value going forward.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


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Starting Pitchers to Stream – Week 6 (5/6-5/12)

Every week I cover starting pitcher streaming options who are owned in 25% or fewer of leagues based on FantasyPros Consensus ownerships rates. Let’s take a look at the options for week 6 (5/6-5/12).

Martin Perez (SP – MIN) 6% owned, @TOR, Monday, 5/6  and Saturday, 5/11 Home vs DET
I stayed away from Perez last week because he faced off against the Astros. He proceeded to twirl eight brilliant shutout innings with seven strikeouts. I’m definitely on board with both starts next week. Perez has only given one earned run over his last two outings. It’s amazing what throwing 95+ MPH will do for a starter like Perez. I prefer the start at home against the Tigers and you’ll see, I’m picking on them next week. As a team, the Tigers have only hit 21 home runs all season and strike out about 27% of the time. I like Perez to pile up a K per inning and a quality start with a good chance for a win. Believe it or not, the Blue Jays haven’t been much better offensively. Despite the call-up of Vlad Jr., the Blue Jays have been in a rut losing their last four games. The Blue Jays also strikeout at a well-above-average clip, so while this road start is a little risky, I’m still rolling with Perez twice next week. STREAM

Tyler Mahle (SP – CIN) 5% owned, @OAK, Tuesday, 5/7
Mahle is becoming a favorite streamer of mine. Sure, he’s got a 4.09 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP but it comes with a cool 9.0 K/9 and sub-2.0 BB/9. He is susceptible to the long ball but is also carrying an unlucky .344 BABIP. While his home park is the most favorable for homers, Oakland’s ballpark is ranked 22nd in terms of home run park factors using Barrels. Add in the fact that the Athletics are ranked 24th in wOBA at home and we’ve got a winning matchup here. I don’t think his arsenal is built to last longterm, but he’s coming off his best start of the season in New York, so I’m back in. STREAM

Griffin Canning (SP – LA) 23% owned, @DET Tuesday 5/7
Here we go, picking on the Tigers again. Canning flashed impressive stuff in his debut even if the numbers didn’t back it up. He touches 95 MPH on his fastball with a plus slider and was able to strike out six Blue Jays in just over four innings. He managed to get called strikes plus swinging strikes on 34% of his pitches, a very solid rate. I think the Angels let him go a little deeper but reaching 6+ innings might be a stretch. So, he’s a little less valuable in QS leagues. The Tigers are not good as I already mentioned but they are even worse at home with just an 87 wRC+ (100 is average) and have hit just seven, yes 7 home runs at home all year, LOL. STREAM

Jeff Samardijza (SP – SF) 17% owned, Home vs CIN Friday, 5/10
Daddy Shark do do dododo. He’s back! He’s pitching today (Sunday) against the Reds but it’s in Great American Smallpark. Remember the home run park factors link above, here it is again. I don’t care what happens in the Sunday start, it’s like going from pitching on the moon to pitching in Antarctica. The Reds are the worst team offensively on the road this year hitting just .252. Scratch that, that’s their OBP, they are batting .197 with a .252 wOBA on the road. Yup, that’s bad. As far as Shark, he’s not great but he’s traded his heavy sinker usage for a cutter. That’s good because the career batting average against his sinker is over .300. Meanwhile, the cutter has allowed just two hits on 110 thrown this year. Another STREAM here.

Jake Odorizzi (SP – MIN) 17% owned, Home vs DET Friday 5/10
Jake is probably my second favorite option next week (Perez is my favorite). And, here we are again picking on the Tigers. I won’t go into them at all. Odorizzi’s just been straight nasty recently. He hasn’t given up a run in his last two starts while striking out 15. In all honesty, he’s had just one poor start out of his first seven outings. He’s been very good rocking a 2.78 ERA. His 12.6% swinging strike rate (SwStr%) backs up his near-10K/9. I’d run to the wire and grab him now before he gets scooped up. STREAM

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA) 6% Owned, @ NYM Friday 5/10
P-Lo is my boy. Do you trust his current 4.78 ERA or his 2.99 FIP? I tend to lean towards his FIP. Maybe not that good but Lopez is more of a mid-3s ERA pitcher. He’s maintained his increased velocity and it’s improved the results against the fastball. An increase of 4% on his K rate and 2.6% on his swinging strike rate on the fastball has made his secondaries more valuable. Especially the changeup that has generated a disgusting 27.2% SwStr%. The Mets are a tough team and this matchup is not in pitcher-friendly Miami. But wait, they’ve managed just a .284 wOBA in the past 14 days with a near-26% strikeout rate. I think Lopez can manage more than a K per inning with good ratios. I’ll recommend a STREAM but only in 14-team & deeper leagues.

Anthony DeSclafani (SP – CIN), 19% Owned @ SF Saturday 5/11
Talk about picking on weak opponents this week! Tony Disco gets to pitch in the confines of Oracle Park where fly balls go to die. He’s been an extreme fly ball pitcher this year which has hurt him at home but should be just fine away from the GAB. The Giants have hit just .207 with eight home runs at home this year. You read that right, Christian Yelich has more HR at home than the Giants! Meanwhile, DeSclafani is striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings and should easily be able to net a quality start in this one. STREAM.

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.



Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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Starting Pitchers to Stream Week 4 (4/22-4/28)

What a week of baseball! Christian Yelich can’t stop hitting bombs and every stud pitcher is getting blown up expect my beloved Trevor Bauer and last year’s heartthrob Luis Castillo. Link. deGrom and Snell went down with injuries this week, Scherzer, Cole, Sale, Nola, get blown up; it’s crazy! This is why streaming pitchers like Jordan Lyles and Caleb Smith are so important. In some instances, they are outperforming the aces. Let’s look at some solid options for Week 4.

Luke Weaver (SP – ARI) 17% owned @PIT Tuesday 4/23
I’m not really sure why Luke Weaver is owned in only 17% of leagues. I have a feeling his ownership jumps over 25% by the end of next week. He totaled 17 strikeouts in his last two outings and was touching 97 MPH in his last start. His K-BB% is 21.6% which is tied for 20th among qualified starters. This matchup is nice as the Pirates who just lost Starling Marte in a scary collision on Friday night. He has since been placed on the IL, the lineup is essentially a Triple-A lineup with Josh Bell as the team’s best hitter. As a team, the Pirates are ranked 23rd in the league in wOBA (.290) and have hit just 13 homers on the young season, good (bad) for second-lowest total in the bigs. Easy Stream here.

Pablo Lopez (SP – MIA), 4% owned @CLE, Tuesday 4/23
Lopez is a well-kept secret but the word is about to get out. His 5.85 ERA is a mirage thanks to a .386 BABIP and a 61.1% strand rate. His 23% K-BB% is actually better than our boy Weaver above and his velocity is up over one MPH this year. He gets Cleveland who receives a much-needed boost with the return on Lindor but doesn’t move the needle enough for me given the current 27% strikeout rate the Indians have as a team. My only concern is how deep he will go. He’s only averaging five innings per start, so a quality start might be tough to get. I still think he’s in for more than a strikeout per inning and solid ratios. Stream

Jordan Lyles (SP – PIT), 25% owned Home vs ARI, Wednesday 4/24
Lyles is right on the cusp of going over my 25% ownership cap. Why? Well, he’s rocking a 0.83 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP in 17 innings. Look, he’s not this good, not even close but a PNC is great pitchers park. However, the Diamondbacks have been better than advertised offensively and Lyles is due for some regression. The DBacks have already hit 32 homers and have a .339 wOBA as a team. Lyles struggles against lefties and the DBacks have some solid lefty bats (Peralta, Marte, Escobar) along with hot-hitting righty Christian Walker to handle Lyles. I’m going to pass on this start for Lyles, besides, he hurt his hand in his last outing, so I think this is where regression sets in. Stay Away.

Martin Perez (SP – MIN), 1% owned at home vs BAL, Friday 4/26
A home start against the Orioles at home is a nearly ideal situation for Perez. He’s essentially a new pitcher because he no longer is a soft-tosser averaging near 95 MPH which has skyrocketed his swinging strike rate and K%. In his start on Saturday, he wasn’t great but got the win thanks to an offensive explosion. The Orioles are deploying Chris Davis almost every day, which should tell you how poor their lineup is. Perez should be good for at least five to six strikeouts in this one (maybe 3 from C Davis) and a good chance at a win. Stream

Jered Eickhoff (SP – PHI), 2% Owned at home vs MIA, Friday 4/26
Eickhoff has been called up with the move to send Pivetta down to the Minors and he gets the Marlins at home next week. Look, Eickoff missed most of 2018 with injuries and hasn’t been good since 2016 but he seems to have a better pitch mix. His fastball is not good and he’s throwing it a lot less than in 2017. Getting the Marlins at home should help keep his ratios in check. The Phillies offense should put up plenty of run support against Jose Urena. I’d look to stream Eickhoff in 14-team leagues and deeper. Stream lightly here

Jake Odorizzi (SP – MIN), 10% owned Home vs BAL, Sunday 4/28

I already bashed the Orioles in the Perez blurb but can what else can we say about them? We know they strike out a lot. Would you believe me if I told you Odorizzi has a 14.3% swinging strike rate and has allowed just a 66.4% contact rate? That’s over 10% lower than the league average! We have to keep in mind that Odorizzi is a junkballer and can struggle to find the plate. There’s risk here but I like that this start is at home. Stream

Follow me @FreezeStats. Check out my work at FantasyPros and Pitcher List.


(Photo: Rob Schumacher/The Republic)