The trade deadline has come and gone and it was actually very exciting with lots of action leading up to the deadline and coming in right at the deadline itself. I’ve already examined the Scott Kazmir trade to the Astros, Johnny Cueto heading to the Royals, Cole Hamels to the Rangers, Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes trading places, the 3-team/13-player mega deal between the Dodgers/Braves/Marlins, and a slew of other trades, so follow the links for analysis on those. Now I will take a look at all the other impact trade deadline deals and what they mean for the teams involved and for fantasy purposes. Continue reading
A look at the mega-deal involving the Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, and Miami Marlins.
Dodgers receive Mat Latos, Alex Wood, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, Jose Peraza, Mike Morse, and Bronson Arroyo. Braves receive Hector Olivera, Paco Rodriguez, and Zachary Bird. Marlins receive Kevin Guzman, Jeff Brigham, and Victor Araujo.
Analysis and Fantasy Fallout: Well, this was certainly a large trade involving 3 teams and 13 players, but it finally was consummated and it seems to have worked out for all parties involved. Starting with the Dodgers, they get two quality Major League pitchers, Latos and Wood, that have flashed top of the rotation stuff at some point in their young-ish careers. Both of them will step right into the starting rotation alongside Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Brett Anderson. The Dodgers rotation has just been marred by injuries this season, so this is a much needed boost. Continue reading
In a fantasy world where daily fantasy sports (DFS) games are becoming more and more popular due to the instant gratification and large cash prizes that they can provide, it was only a matter of time before one of the big names of the season long fantasy sports world began to offer the daily games that sites such as FanDuel and DraftKings have popularized over the last few years. On Wednesday, Yahoo! launched their version of daily fantasy sports offerings beginning with MLB contests.
Yahoo! provided an update to their fantasy sports application that now provides dual access to both the season long leagues and the daily fantasy contests. With one click on the screen, it’s easy to switch on over from one to the other. Overall, the app could use some work in comparison to DraftKings great piece of work, but I’m sure that it will evolve in time.
It would appear that Yahoo! has made their DFS platform for MLB a bit of a hybrid between FanDuel and DraftKings. The scoring system overall is much more similar to that of FanDuel in the sense that the wins for pitchers are a big thing. For an example, a win on Yahoo! is worth four times the amount of a pitcher strikeout. On DraftKings, a pitcher win is only worth two times the amount of a pitcher strikeout. However, the scoring system on Yahoo! takes a page out of DraftKings’ book by not having any point penalties to hitters for strikeouts. And as far as lineup configuration goes on Yahoo!, you must select two pitchers just like on DraftKings, as opposed to only one pitcher like on FanDuel.
Right now, it should pay off in the short term to play DFS guaranteed prize pool tournaments on Yahoo! There’s going to be some extreme overlay in the early going due to things just starting out. Overlay is created in GPP’s when the total numbers of entrants multiplied by the entry fee does not equal or exceed the amount that is listed as the “guaranteed” dollar amount to be paid out.
For instance, on Wednesday there was a tournament on Yahoo! that offered a guaranteed $10,000 in prizes and it was a $2 entry. So there had to be at least 5,000 entrants ($10,000 divided by $2) to ensure that Yahoo! did not have to add money of its own to the guaranteed prize pool of $10,000. But in this particular tournament there were only 3,163 entries at $2 a piece for a total of $6,326, which meant that Yahoo! had to contribute $3,674 of their own money to equal $10,000. And before the tournament, it was already established that the top 20% of the maximum amount of 5,682 entries would be paid out. 20% of 5,682 is 1,420. But with only 3,163 total entries, that meant that the top 45% (1,420 divided by 3,163) of the entries would cash in the tournament, and with the chance to win the top prize of $2,000. So a situation like this provides a lot of value and should be taken advantage of by submitting multiple entries — it gives the ability to win more money with less competition.
So I would recommend giving the Yahoo! DFS games a look, especially in the early going to try and grab some value with the overlay situation. Also, the competition might be softer since the Yahoo! DFS games should attract a lot of the season long players that Yahoo! has — players who may not have ever played DFS before. Now let’s take a look at Wednesday’s slate of baseball action.
***For clarification, from what I’ve gathered, “Bour” is pronounced the same as “bore” or “boar.” Not pronounced the same as “Bauer.”
So maybe Marlins first baseman Justin Bour is portly shaped like a boar at 6’4″/250 lbs., but he is proving to be far from a bore as he began to see some regular playing time even before Mike Morse landed on the DL. But now that Morse is on the DL, the first base job would appear to be Bour’s to runaway with, and so far so good for the 27-year old left-handed slugger.
Consider this: Bour now has 4 HR on the season and the pitchers he has taken deep are Jordan Zimmermann, Brad Brach, Gerrit Cole, and now Matt Harvey after Friday’s bomb that proved to be the game winner for the Marlins. That’s 3 of the top starting pitchers in the National League and also pitchers that do not allow a whole lot of home runs. He is now hitting .361 with 4 HR, and 9 RBI in 61 AB.
I’ve been talking about Bour and his power potential for a few days now, and he really needs to be owned in more leagues. Yes, he’s not going to hit in the high .300’s, and chances are that he won’t even hit anywhere above .300, but Bour is a hitter who has never shown any significant propensity to striking out. His Minor League career strikeout rate is a respectable 17.5% and he never once struck out at a 20% clip at any stop in the Minors. In limited action last year with the Marlins, he did strikeout 22.9% of the time, but this season in 14 games at AAA he struck out just 9.7% of the time. And in his time in the Majors so far this season, he is at a very nice 15.2% mark. So he does appear to have a greater feel for the strike zone than most hitters that carry his type of power potential, which is a big plus when mining for up and coming power hitters.
About that power potential, Bour’s yearly best total in his professional career was 23 HR at high-A ball in 2011. But in 2013 and 2014 at AA and AAA, Bour’s HR per AB rate was 1 HR every 19.5 AB. And now at 27 years old, Bour should be entering his prime where his power potential could achieve new levels. Bour may not see regular playing time against left-handed pitching in his first extended go-round in the Majors, but he is looking like a very nice play against righties at the very least, as he is being inserted into the cleanup role right behind Giancarlo Stanton.
So if you are in the need of some power then it wouldn’t hurt to give Bour a go, as he likely won’t kill your team in AVG either. I would think of him along the same lines of Adam Lind.
Now let’s see what else happened on Friday’s slate!
For anyone who owns Sean Doolittle in fantasy leagues, the question was going to be “What Would Doo Do (in his first game back from the DL)?” @whatwouldDOOdo also happens to be the Twitter handle of the Oakland lefty, and he does tweet some funny stuff and is worth the follow on Twitter if you’re into that sort of thing.
Doolittle had been recovering and rehabbing from a shoulder injury that has had him on the DL all season, but he was finally activated on Tuesday and got into game action on Wednesday. Doolittle entered the 6th inning of Wednesday’s game against the Tigers in a very low leverage situation with the team down 3 runs and the bottom of the Tigers order coming up. Doolittle caught Nick Castellanos looking on strike 3, got Bryan Holaday to hit a flyout, gave up a single to Dixon Machado, and then struck out Anthony Gose swinging through a fastball. So in box score terms that was 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
Looks pretty good, right? He should be back to closing games in no time? Well, it is possible but hold that thought. While he did finish his first outing back with a clean inning and even struck out 2 batters, let’s not forget that 2 of the batters he faced are normally bench players and one of the other batters cannot hit lefties worth a lick. Then throw in the fact that Doolittle’s fastball was sitting at just 89 MPH, which corroborates reports of his velocity being way down in his rehab appearances, and we could possibly have a tease situation on our hands if we were to just look at the box score.
Doolittle’s fastball is a pitch that has regularly averaged 94 MPH on the gun over the last couple of seasons, so to be sitting at 89 MPH and topping out at 90 MPH does raise a decent level of concern. Coming back from a shoulder injury, it shouldn’t be expected that Doolittle has the same type of velocity, but a 5 MPH difference is very discouraging. To look on the brighter side of things though, the fastball is a pitch that he throws 85-90% of the time, so he’s not one to rely on changing speeds a whole lot. Instead, he is more about locating the fastball where he wants it to be. So he doesn’t necessarily need the really good velocity, but it also is an extreme plus to have it and hitters may start to tee off on him if he’s without good velocity.
Doolittle of course can regain the velocity as the season goes on and as his shoulder gets stronger. However, without any guarantee that happens, Doolittle may be in for some tough times. If I owned him, which I do, I would shop Doolittle around to owners that are looking for saves to see if you can get something that may be of good use to you. It won’t be a star player, but a quality role player can go a long ways. There’s a chance that Doolittle ends up being fine, reclaims the closer role after a couple more good innings, and goes on to be a quality closer the rest of the way. However, I would be fine taking my chances and getting rid of him if I can find the right deal.
Let’s see what else happened on Wednesday! Continue reading
Josh Donaldson had an incredible night at the plate as he took the first offering that he saw from John Danks way beyond the left field fence for a solo dong in the 1st inning. Then he ripped a double off Danks in the 3rd inning, which put the fear in Danks to walk him next time in the 5th. Donaldson then came up in 7th and knocked a single up the middle off Jake Petricka. And for the grand finale, he took David Robertson deep to the opposite field for a 3-run walkoff DONG-aldson home run. Overall, Donaldson finished the night 4 for 4 with 2 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, and 1 BB. The perfect night put him at a .315 AVG, 12 HR, 33 RBI, 40 R, and 2 SB in 48 games as he is proving to be a fantasy juggernaut in his first season as a Blue Jay.
Heading into the season, it was much assumed that the home park switch from Oakland to Toronto would give Donaldson a boost to his HR total, but he is on an absolutely torrid pace right now as he is hitting .380 with 9 HR and 21 RBI in 100 AB at the Rogers Centre. And not only is he obliterating pitchers when he is at home, but as I have mentioned several times, he also makes left-handed pitchers want to curl up into a ball and die in the corner of the dugout. Versus lefties this season, Donaldson is hitting .474 with 4 HR and 9 RBI in 36 AB. So Donaldson facing a left-handed pitcher at home is just about the most optimal situation for any hitter in the Majors.
At a .338 mark, Donaldson’s BABIP may seem a little high at first, because his line drive rate is pretty low at 15.5%. However, his hard hit rate is up at a career best pace, and he is spraying the ball to all portions of the field instead of being primarily a pull hitter like in years past. Those are some great indicators that he is doing things differently and well, and it gives some hope that he will be able to have a BABIP that’s higher than his career mark and subsequently hit for a nice average.
I think that we all knew that Donaldson would be able to put up some solid numbers this season moving to a hitter’s park and being a part of one of the most powerful lineups in the Majors. But he is delivering so well on his potential that Billy Beane has absolutely got to be second guessing trading him away when he still could have been under team control for 3 more years.
For the rest of the season from May 27 onward, I will give Donaldson a line of: .284 AVG, 23 HR, 71 RBI, 71 R, and 4 SB
That means that I am projecting him to finish the season with a final overall line of: .292 AVG, 35 HR, 104, RBI, 111 R, and 6 SB. That is a fantasy monster.
Now let’s check out the rest of Tuesday’s slate…
Let me first start by congratulating Andrew Cashner on a ridiculously awesome mullet. It suits him well. I’ve been known to grow out my hair pretty long in a mullet type fashion in the back, but I could never in my wildest dreams make it look as stylishly good as his.
Ever since Cashner came over to the Padres and became a full-time starting pitcher, he has to be one of the unluckiest pitchers when it comes to wins and losses, if not the unluckiest. In 2013 Cashner squeaked over the .500 mark with a 10-9 record off of a 3.09 ERA in 31 games (26 starts), and last year he went just 5-7 in 19 starts despite having a superb 2.55 ERA. Those seasons of mediocre win/loss records despite the sparkling ERA’s were surely attributed to pitching for a Padres team that had the 24th worst run scoring offense in the Majors in 2013 and the absolute worst in 2014.
On Friday night against the Dodgers, Cashner pitched 6 innings of quality baseball where he gave up one unearned run on 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3. However, he was once again unable to come away with one for the W column and was handed a no-decision. Cashner’s ERA improved to 2.89 and his WHIP to 1.27, but his record of 1-7 definitely does not reflect anything resembling what it should for a pitcher with his stats.
But what happened? The Padres offense was supposed to be vastly improved by adding guys in the off-season like Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Derek Norris, and Will Middlebrooks, so they must all be flaming out as disappointments, right? Well, not exactly actually. Upton, Myers, and Norris have all been enjoying good seasons, and the Padres are actually 11th in the Majors in run scored and have been the beneficiaries of their home field Petco Park turning into a launching pad of sorts.
When Cashner has taken the hill, his offense has only averaged 2.00 runs per game, and in 6 of his 9 starts, the offense has scored 2 runs or less. For comparison, his teammate James Shields has received at least 3 runs of support in all of his starts for 5.33 runs on average, and other teammate Tyson Ross has received 4.33 runs of support in his starts. So it’s not that he has been pitching for a team with a horrendous offense like in years past, he has just had the misfortune of his offense being powerless specifically in the games that he has started. He has been matched up versus the likes of Max Scherzer, Dallas Keuchel, Jon Lester, and Zack Greinke (twice), but he’s also opposed Brandon McCarthy, Ryan Vogelsong, Rubby De La Rosa, and Daniel Hudson. So the 2.00 runs of support per game are hardly excusable.
With an increase in slider usage from 15.9% last year to 19.9% this year, Cashner is striking out a lot more batters this season with nearly a +2.00 K/9 bump up to 8.68 K/9. The swinging strike rate that Cashner is inducing supports the increase in strikeouts as well, as it is up from 8.0% last year to 9.9% this year, and a large portion of that is from the slider. However, he has been a victim of the weird, inexplicable transformation of Petco Park into a more hitter friendly park that I alluded to earlier. He is allowing 1.29 HR/9 on a 14.3% HR/fly ball rate. That’s not something that is likely to continue as he has been very good at limiting the long ball regardless of where he has pitched (0.75 HR/9 on the road in 2013-14).
I think that Cashner is a good candidate that you may want to try and buy and cash in with him. By all metric systems, Cashner is pitching the best that he ever has since becoming a full-time starting pitcher and the win/loss record is a fluke that the Cashner owner in your league may not realize or just something they are getting tired of dealing with. It’s a very optimistic sign that he is striking out more batters, and with a legitimate reason that he is doing so (the slider). Things will turn around for him soon.
Let’s dive into Friday’s other games in action.