Posts Tagged ‘pitching’

Under the Radar: Pitcher Edition

While I commend Collin’s idea in exposing under-the-radar players, I really have to disagree with two of those choices. Travis Snider is still young and has potential and belongs on that list. John Buck is a known commodity. He has power. He does not have enough power to overcome his staggering lack of any other useful talents, which is why the Royals gave him the Royal boot. When the Kings of Poop don’t want you, it’s time to pack it in.

Kevin Kouzmanoff I find somewhere in between Buck and Snider. While arguably as talented as Snider, he doesn’t have the same upside for make-believe baseball because he has less power. However, in a year where third base has been, to this point, incredibly shallow at the top (only Evan Longoria, Mark Reynolds and David Wright are ranked in the top 40), yet incredibly deep in the mediocre range where Kouzmanoff lies, you can do better. He’s 28 and already has three full major league seasons under his belt. We know what he offers: a subpar batting average (career .262), league-average power stats (three-year averages of 19.7 HR and 82 RBI), and no speed potential (two career steals, three-year average of 59.3 runs scored). If you desperately need a third baseman, pick up someone else who hasn’t played much and has potential, like David Freese if you can still grab him, or Andy LaRoche. They’ll have a better year than Kouzmanoff.

Here are some pitchers that can really supply you with some value for cheap that aren’t widely-publicized like Jaime Garcia, Doug Fister and Livan Hernandez:

Jason Vargas: Through five starts this year, Vargas has a 3.69 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP with two wins and 27 punchouts in 31.2 innings. He pitches for the Mariners in their pitcher’s dreamscape, Safeco Field, and he just threw a quality start against the ML-leading Rays, striking out 8 batters in the process. He’s only 6-percent owned, and I picked him up for a spot start a while ago and he did all right for me. Keep an eye on him. If he’s still doing this well through another five starts, why not take a shot?

Kyle Davies: I don’t know how many of you remember his “breakout” with the Braves a few years back, but this kid does have talent. He’s shown it too. Four of his five outings have been quality start, including his last two great turns, totaling 12 innings, giving up only two runs and striking out 11. He doesn’t have the opportunity for a lot of wins pitching for the Royals black hole of offense (if Zack Greinke can’t get a win, then who can?), but if he continues to pitch like this, he’s definitely worth owning.

Chris Volstad: Ah, the post-hype sleeper. Just last year he was on everyone’s list of can’t-miss young pitchers, and just like the rest of those pitchers, he plays for the Marlins. He missed, and now is owned in only 4 percent of leagues, but he’s still got the same talent he had in 2008. Although he has a 4.50 ERA, his WHIP is a tidy 1.11, which is an indication of bad luck. When things even out, you’ll want him on your team.

Struggles in Grayland and RS Nation

There are two kinds of slumping in fantasy baseball.  One is the kind Ethan is experiencing: fluctuation. An example would be a team hitting around .200 without power. Basically fluctuation just says your team is reeking of sweaty gym socks for a certain period of time and there is a clear correlation between poor numbers and a lack of fantasy points.  The other kind of struggling is a result of strategic weakness. There is no such correlation in the strategy slumps.  Over the last few days, my team has slowly been losing points and has slid from 1st place to 4th.  I now trail the surprisingly respectable Jabula by 4.5 points.  I’ve maxed out my points in homers and RBIs and have respectable numbers in runs and average.  This means hitting will rarely help me gain points, because I already have them.  So despite a day when my team hit over .300 with respectable power numbers, I lost points due to weak pitching and continued sloth-like performances on the basepaths. My strategic flaw was trying to specialize in a few categories to ensure domination rather than aiming to merely compete in every category.

Pitching has also become a huge weakness of the Providence Grays. The pitching deficiency falls more into the fluctuation category.  Wheels are churning on several trade possibilities.  I have less than 5 points in ERA, WHIP and wins.  I will probably lose another point or two in saves before all is said and done as well.

With Ellsbury's speed, points in steals should be coming...

Some of these problems will be self-correcting as the season continues by the law of averages and the law of human bodies recovering.  I only have 4 points in steals, but assuming Jacoby Ellsbury returns in anything resembling a timely manner, I should stand to gain 3 to 4 additional points in steals.  Also, Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Justin Verlander are unlikely candidates to retain ERAs of 5+ and WHIPs of 1.50+.   That being said, movement is needed to ensure upwards movement in pitching categories before it becomes too late.  

With players like Ellsbury, Beckett and Lackey expected to improve (see Lackey’s start tonight), the fate of the Red Sox (this writer’s favorite baseball team) and the Providence Grays are intertwined this year.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What better feeling is there than when two great things intersect?  The success of both your real-life and fantasy baseball teams is up there with the great combos of all time: Russell and Cousy on the same basketball court, peanut butter and jelly on the same sandwich, Collin and Ethan on the same blog.

Some things just can’t be topped.


Pitchers can only be this bad for so long. This video fails to show the rest of the whiffleball season, after the pitcher learns a nasty slider that starts out 6 feet behind the batter and crosses the plate the moment the child hitting falls to the ground, weeping in fear of ball on bone collision.