Baseball Stocks Rising: April 2015

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.
he's on seattle now yeah, but look how cool he looks in this photo!

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.
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Frugal Fantasy Baseball 2015: Pitchers

klubot botting it up

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.
Part I
Part II
Part III

Starting Pitching
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.
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What to do with the Zimmermen(n)

Ryan-Zimmerman-GlovesI was never a fan of Ryan Zimmerman going into the year and have him on none of my teams, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help the dumbos who drafted him. He went and got himself injured early in the year, but now he’s coming back tonight and apparently at a different position. I kind of like how the Nationals are trying out Ryan in LF, but then again they’re sort of delaying the inevitable when Harper returns, but I guess this team will do anything to keep Ryan out of hot corner defensively. If the Nationals are serious, I think Ryan should get enough playing time to get OF eligibility, where he only needs 5 starts on Yahoo! and 10 starts on ESPN. What I’m more worried about is that maybe they’re doing this because Harper’s injury could be more serious than what they’ve let on. In 2013 Ryan got a majority of his useful stats during the last month of the season, where he had 11 HRs, so he gets his power numbers in bunches and could go on a similar tear again. I would try to sell Ryan as soon as he’s accrued any value, but every leagues different and it may be better just to hold onto him. Why did you draft this guy!
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Aprilish Reactions: Pitchers Edition

Somehow Clayton Kershaw is the 135th ranked overall player on Yahoo! After only 3 starts…which is somehow higher than Stephen Strasburg, Cliff Lee, and Madison Bumgarner. I know Kershaw is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but come on, he hasn’t been the one of the most valuable players in the fantasy game when he’s been sidelined for most of it. Give him at least a couple more starts before we crown him the prince of baseball again.
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April Reactions: Hitter Reactions

justin-morneau-and-standeeWhat a great start for Justin Morneau, good thing I recommended him as much as I could on this website that nobody reads! I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that one. Todd Helton was able to play 1B for the Rockies for 40 years, Morneau should be able to do it too. Also those two studs on the left look like twins…too soon?

I’m really glad I held on to Rajai Davis in all my leagues I drafted him in and didn’t drop him for let’s say either Matt Lindstrom or Jose Valverde because I needed saves. I couldn’t have been that stupid right? Right?!

Elvis Andrus has 9 SBs already, he’s so fast because of all those peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches he eats. The King and the Prince are roaming around the Texas infield.

Chris Colabell-who? Somehow he has 27 rbis playing for the Twins and I’ve never heard of him before this year. Somehow the Twins have one of the best offenses in baseball, if only they had just one major league level pitcher…
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My Starting Pitching Draft Strategy

I’m writing this looking at both the Yahoo! and the ESPN rankings. League settings should change your respective strategies. If you’re in a Roto league I’d value SPs a little higher than in H2H. Points leagues really depend on the scoring, but in my limited experience I found SPs provided me with a ton of points. It really depends on the settings though. I can’t really help with auctions too much because every draft is different. I can only recommend spending the extra dollars on the guys you like, it’s better to get to as close to $0 as possible and at the end of the draft extra money is useless money. This piece will cover how I would draft in a snake format for a 12 team standard scoring league.
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Random Thoughts on a Random Pack of Baseball Cards

A piece from the mind of James Boyce

Roy Halladay

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 (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 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.
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The Cole Report: 2 Takes on Cole Hamels

As former interns for the prestigious Cole Hamels Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to “enriching the lives of children through education…” I think my colleague and I know a thing or two about our former boss, Colbert Mike Hamels, that the fantasy community at large may not. Today we’re here to share our knowledge and discuss his fantasy impact this upcoming season. Colbert is currently ranked on ESPN #44 overall and the #10 SP while Yahoo! rankes him #46 overall and the #13 SP.  Make your case.

The Case for Drafting Colbert by Jamie Will


* Edit: Ok, so a day or so after we posted this the news came out about Hamels’ shoulder tendinits. While I don’t think it’ll be a long term thing, it is right to be concerned when you hear “Pitcher” and “shoulder” in an injury report. That definitely hurts my argument a bit, but people out there should keep an eye on Hamels in drafts because he might plummet a bit and, if so, scoop him up because he will be back in a bit.

Good old Cole… Before I get going on the greatness-to-come of Cole Hamels, let me make it clear that I am a Phillies fan.  That said, I think this team is likely to be as bleak as the current icy landscape in Philadelphia.  The experts and casinos agree, with their projected win totals ranging from bad to worse (actually between 70-80..  that’s sad).  I am going to go out on a limb here and say that, even if the Phillies end up as bad overall as is expected, Cole Hamels will win 20 games for the first time.  Yes, you heard me… Colbert will get 20 of the 70-80 wins and here is why.  

Prior to last season, in which the whole ship sank in Philadelphia, Hamels’ increased his strikeout totals, thrown more complete games, and posted ERA’s of 2.79 and 3.05 in back to back seasons, earning All-Star nods and entering the back end of the Cy Young conversation.  While I will admit that last year can’t simply be written off, I think that Hamels is absolutely deserving of his current rankings in ESPN and Yahoo and should be targeted in drafts.  

One reason why is that I believe the ever-swinging pendulum of poor run-support in Philadelphia will swing back to Cliff Lee after returning to Hamels last season.  Yes, I know that there is no statistical backing for an assertion like that, but if you look at the last several seasons, Hamels and Lee have seemingly alternated being the bearers of the bad bats.  This year is Hamels’ turn to get the support and, even though the lineup is hardly filled with world beaters anymore, there is enough pop left in those bats to support a strong pitcher like Hamels.
A second reason is the lowering of expectations surrounding the Phillies could very well take the pressure off of Colbert.  For years, as the team around him has slowly crumbled through mismanagement and age, the public has looked to Hamels to put the team on his back and carry them as the “Ace of Aces.”  It did seem like that may have worn on him a bit over time, culminating in last year’s decline.  This year though?  Everybody has written the Phillies completely off.  I am sure the remaining core of players (Hamels, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Ruiz) are pissed off about that and want to do something about it.  
To sum it all up, you can trust Colbert “Hollywood” Hamels to strongly assert himself against the mass disrespect aimed at him and the Phillies, ultimately giving the proverbial finger to the naysayers by shutting opponents down. Also if Hamels slides a bit during the draft because the perception of the Phillies being ass, grab him and run. 
Don’t Draft Colbert! by Kevin Boyce

*Edit: Okay so Cole Hamels has shoulder tendonitis, so…I guess I win the argument? Not necessarily. Depending on how much Cole falls in the draft and how much more information comes out on his shoulder can change my opinion on him. But things don’t really look as I’m typing this so unless Hamels drops considerably, I’m avoiding him all together.

Did you know that Colbert grew up in San Diego and not Philadelphia? Everyone knows that only true Phillies grow up in Philly. Fact, he’d rather pitch in San Diego.

Did you know that his wife, Heidi Strobel, was a contestant on Survivor? Did you know she lost? How can we expect Cole Hamels to win games when his wife can’t even win? Fact, we can’t.

Colbert Hamels is past his prime and couldn’t throw a strike to save the children he literally saves in his non-profit organization. Fact, he theoretically in this scenario I just made up doesn’t help children in need. 

Okay, maybe I’m being a little overly dramatic (hint: I am) but I’m not as high on Colbert than my colleague is. Let’s make things clear that I am a Mets fan, but that doesn’t mean I’m biased or anything. I mean I worked for the guy’s organization for months and got paid a whopping $0…they didn’t even give me a signed ball, which they had a closet full of. On a slightly more serious note, when I first met Cole Hamels, this tall handsome goofball, I pretty much liked him instantly. We didn’t even talk about baseball, we talked about Australia for 5 minutes. And that’s a longtime considering there were to tons of his friends and donators there. Colbert is genuinely a funny and nice person, he did start a charity organization out of his own pocket…so yeah, pretty cool dude. However, when it comes to fantasy I only see value, and I’m don’t see any value with Hamels this year.

For the price Colbert Hamels is going for this year, you’re drafting him to anchor your fantasy rotation. He’s always had an elite K/BB rate, which keeps his WHIP low and is generally a pretty good thing. He pitched 5 more innings in 2013, but had a dozen less strikeouts than his 2012 totals. He still managed 202 Ks, and he has a K/9 rate above 8, which is what you want in a pitcher, but 27 other pitchers had a K/9 rate over 8, 31 if you count 7.96 and up. Having a K/9 over 8 isn’t rare in the golden age of pitching, HRs are rare. Pre-All Star Break he had 129IP, 4W, 118Ks, 4,05 ERA, and a 1.22 WHIP. He managed to pitch better in the second half, but I just don’t know which Hamels we’re going to see this year. I’d be worried about spending my 4th round pick on him and so should you.

Also in 31 IP against the Mets, Cole gave up 35 hits, 17 ERs, 34 Ks,  .282 batting average against. Let me reiterate, he did this against the METS. Cole Hamels is 30, on a weak team, and pitches in a hitter friendly park. Pitching is deep this year, and unless I’m getting lights out stuff, I’d rather take a bat than an arm. That said, I’ll be rooting for his success this year.   

Finding Value in Yahoo! Fantasy Rankings

Finding Value in Yahoo! Fantasy Rankings

Yahoo! posted a list of their top 250, but the weird aspect about this post is that their actual rankings (the ones that appear in leagues and during drafts) are different. So I just want to warn you guys that this won’t be the list people are staring at during the draft, well I mean Yahoo! usual updates their list after spring training so the actual draft rankings aren’t set in stone either. So even though Hanlely Ramirez is ranked 7th overall in this link, he’s actual ranked 16th if you were to do an actual draft today.

This post will be about undervalued players on the current Yahoo! ranking system.
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