So the first month of baseball is technically over, but because the season started so late the first month hasn’t really finished yet. I looked into some players off to great starts to the season and I used fangraphs for all the stats mentioned in my post.
Nelson Cruz – Well it’s official, I was dead wrong on Cruz. Seattle is where hitters go to die! Cano couldn’t even get to 15 HRs last year and Cruz moving from the hitter friendly Camden Yards to Safeco was supposed to reduce his power, not increase it! He’s hitting fly balls 14% more than last year and his ground ball rate is down by 8%, so the spike in HRs makes sense. Those rates usually don’t stabilize until ~170 PAs and he’s only half way to that mark. His HR/FB is high, but if he can keep generating this many FBs then he might even eclipse last years 40 HRs…he only needs 30 more to go. His walk and strikeout rates look right around career average and he’s swinging a little less outside the strike zone while increasing his contact rate. His age, injury history, and home park gave me concern going into the season, but the stats show there’s little to dislike.
The Cubs and Cardinals start off the season and I was a little too excited to watch 2 teams I don’t care about, but today is officially Opening Day! Part IV of my 2015 frugal fantasy baseball goes over some underpriced SPs and RPs. Obviously depending on how competitive and deep the league is many of these recommendations will be owned already. Depending on how well pitchers do during their first outing will obviously determine how well they’ll perform the entire year. Even if you’ve drafted already I value these pitchers higher than they are currently valued, go trade for them! Add them on the waiver if you’re lucky enough.
A lot of sites will tell you not to draft pitchers early, to draft hitters instead because they’re “safer,” but the better advice would be to draft the correct players. Last year instead of drafting Felix Hernandez in the 2nd round you could have drafted Corey Kluber in the later rounds and got the same production! In 2014 reliable hitters didn’t bust (Prince Fielder, Bryce Harper, Chris Davis, Jason Kipnis) and it’s so much harder to find hitters that out perform their ADP drastically like pitchers so often do (Michael Brantley, Victor Martinez, Jose Abreu, Anthony Rendon). Sarcasm! Clayton Kershaw finished as the #1 overall player last year and he didn’t even pitch the whole season. If you want to draft pitchers early there are plenty of hitters that you can draft late. There seems to be an epidemic of Tommy John surgeries, but there are plenty of pitchers that remain consistent throughout the years, so just draft the players that won’t get Tommy John! It’s that easy. H2H formatting deflated aces because weekly performances are so fickle, and quantity usually beats quality in daily leagues, but having a strong ace can anchor a fantasy rotation, especially in roto leagues. Here are some guys that could help with the quantity side of things though.
Do you know how much easier it is to make fantasy predictions with almost no research to back it up? ESPN posted 53 bold predictions with almost zero facts explaining them, and it included the bogus Troy Tulowitzki will remain healthy for a majority of the year fact! It’s total BS and it’s beautiful, unlike the new ESPN format, but maybe I just hate change. I’m going to make a bunch of fantasy baseball predictions with very little facts to back me up and a ton of bias! Some of them might even be underlined instead of bolded!
Matt Harvey is a bust
He’s on an innings limit and if the Met’s aren’t in the playoff hunt I can see him getting shut down earlier than expected. He’s coming back from Tommy John surgery and I know he’s looked excellent in spring training, but spring training doesn’t mean too much. He has to carry the weight of all of New York’s expectations now that the Yankees stink, that’s too much pressure! He’s getting drafted in the 3rd/4th round now, so people are expecting ace numbers, but he hasn’t pitched a real game in more than a year. Also the Mets can’t have nice things.
Joey Votto finishes as a top 5 1B
He was a top 1B before and I like the Reds’ offense this year with Billy Hamilton likely improving, Todd Frazier and Marlon Byrd providing reliable power, and Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips can’t possible play as bad as they did last year. He’ll provide Freddie Freeman like numbers but for a 3 round discount. Bring on those sweet walks baby!
Part II of my frugal 2015 options will go over the rest of the infield. I’ll still be using the Fantasy Pros average rankings, but Yahoo! and ESPN updated their rankings over the weekend and Fantasy Pros hasn’t updated there ADP accordingly, making it harder for me to recommend some undervalued players through their rankings. Yahoo! and ESPN rankings will be given precedence over the others.
A relatively weak position outside of some early selections, 2B gets dicey really quickly. I like Brian Dozier a lot more in OBP leagues, while Dee Gordon drops down a little in OBP leagues. We still have the annual tradition between most boring 2B in Howie Kendrick and Martin Prado. Kendrick was in one of the best offenses last year and he still ended up with forgetful stats and Martin Prado is just as bad.
Jason Heyward and Jorge Soler are both young RFs with a ton of potential. Heyward seems to be on the cusp of truly breaking out every year and Soler is primed to break out after an impressive summer call up. In keeper leagues I feel the debate is closer, but let me go over who I think is a better pick.
ESPN Keeper Rankings: 45
Razzball Keeper Rankings: 41
Fantasy Pros: 66
ESPN Keeper Rankings: 84
Razzball Keeper Rankings: Unranked or <59
Fantasy Pros: 85
I’m worried. 2015 is supposed to be our year. David Wright thinks we’ll be in the playoffs, Sandy Alderson thinks we’ll improve by 10 wins, and people on ESPN are saying the Mets are better than the Yankees. For the past couples seasons this was the year people have been saying the Mets will rise from mediocrity and head to the playoffs, but I’m worried.
I want to like Brett Lawrie, but every year everyone else seems to like him, making me not like him. If only he didn’t have such a spectacular rookie “year” in 2011 maybe he’d be ranked normally. He’s not really overrated either because he’s ranked over 100, #104 and #106 overall on Yahoo! and ESPN respectively, but it’s just that people keep expecting this guy to “break out” when I think we’ve pretty much seen what he’s got.
A piece from the mind of James Boyce
I always liked Roy Halladay, mainly because he usually went or tried to go the distance, tossing the complete game. A throwback to a older and lost generation – before there were closers, and 8th inning guys, and 7th inning guys, before quality starts became more of a mark of mediocrity. Anyway, Doc had himself a pretty good career, and looking back at the numbers puts things in perspective. 67 Complete games – the # 1 spot according to Baseball-Reference.com (a great site BTW) of active pitchers (I guess since the upcoming season has not yet started, BRef hasn’t yet recognized his retirement), which ranks tied for 636th (!) all-time. The next active pitcher doesn’t even crack the top 1000. Had to check the active leader list on MLB.com sortable stats to see Livan Hernandez w 50, CC Sabathia w 37, and Bartolo Colon w 35. Just for perspective, of recent HOF pitching nominees, Jack Morris is at 180 w 175, Roger Clemens at 327 w 118, Greg Maddux at 355 w 109, Curt Shilling at 495 w 83, Mike Mussina at 736 w 57, Tom Glavine at 750 w 56. Roy’s 20 Shut Outs rank 244th, again he was the active leader in that department. The next were Chris Carpenter w 15, Tim Hudson w 13, Bartolo Colon, Cliff Lee, and CC Sabathia w 12. Times have changed.