With the usual shorter slate of games on Thursday, we’re going to skip the usual format and go with one of those game by game, stream of consciousness-style round-ups again. As a matter of fact, I think we’re going to make this a regular thing for Monday and Thursday nights as it allows us to take a broader look at what’s going on throughout MLB with respect to the fantasy world. This should actually help with waiver wire selections, especially for those who are in leagues with daily roster moves and transactions. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what happened Thursday and what we can expect, fantasy-wise, moving forward.
We will actually start with Thursday’s Fantasy Beast of the Day because he’s actually someone who I have received quite a number of emails about lately. Everyone wants to know if he’s the real deal…..again……or if he is the consummate sell-high candidate.
Fantasy Beast of the Day
|Mark Reynolds, 1B CLE||2-3, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB|
So what are we looking at here with Mark Reynolds right now? Are we buying? Are we selling? What do we do here? He’s batting .291 with 11 home runs and 29 RBI through his first 31 games (128 plate appearances) and looks like an absolute monster at the plate right now. It wasn’t that he was a total disaster last year because 23 home runs is far from disastrous, but it was a serious decline in power with the same lousy average and offensive rates in line with career averages. Now suddenly he’s back on top and even better than before as his strikeout rate has gone down and while his BABIP is higher than his career average, there’s nothing outlandish about it. So we should believe, right? Well, maybe not so fast. There are two things I’m looking at that actually make me think you should be selling high on him right now. First off, the .355 ISO is way too high a mark for him to keep up with. If you’ve been paying attention to Todd Zola’s articles about regression, then you’d be looking at his ISO numbers from past seasons and see that his average ISO is closer to .240 which means we’re going to see quite a number of at-bats with fewer extra-base hits in the future. If you couple that with the second thing I’m looking at – his swing rates – then you’ve got a clearer understanding of what the future may hold for him. Sure, the overall strikeout rate is down, but A. he’s still striking out at more than a 25-percent mark and B. his swinging strike rate is still at 14.3-percent which is not only higher than last year, but right in line with his career averages. His swing rate shows that he’s making a run at more pitches, particularly those outside the zone and he’s making substantially more contact on them right now. Between pitcher adjustments, a likely drop in BABIP, and an expected regression in contact outside the zone, Reynolds is going to have to swing less and be more selective at the plate, something he has never shown a tendency to do. Unless something completely changed his approach at the plate during the offseason, you can probably expect this recent hot run at the plate to start cooling of very soon. Sell, sell, sell!
Now let’s hit the rest…..
OK, so I’m officially testing the waters on Scott Kazmir next week as I just picked him up here in the Fantasy Alarm league. His first two starts of the season were less than stellar, but he’s thrown back-to-back quality starts now and, most importantly, has seen a gradual uptick in velocity with each start he’s made this season, topping out at 95 mph on Thursday. I’m a bit nervous that he’s allowing so many fly balls, but I’m taking the shot anyway…
That’s now 14 earned runs over 15.1 innings (three starts) for Bartolo Colon. Please tell me you weren’t banking on him pitching well all year long.
I can’t wait for the Yankees to leave Colorado this week as the combined 2-for-18 with just one run scored from Nolan Arenado and Wilin Rosario is killing me here. Although a trip to St. Louis to face Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller isn’t all that enticing either…
Your buy-low window on Adam LaRoche is rapidly closing. He’s now hit safely in six straight games and it’s just a matter of time, and not much at that, before he starts hitting for power again.
Seriously….Jeremy Guthrie? What more does he have to do to earn your trust. Sure the strikeout rate stinks and maybe he walks a few too many guys, but he’s allowed just one earned run over his last 21.1 innings and has made 18 consecutive starts without a loss, dating back to last August. Do I think his ERA stays at this tasty 2.28 mark? Probably not, but even a slight uptick in ERA, won’t kill his overall value.
Maybe it was here, maybe it was somewhere else that I write, but I told people that Mike Moustakas was a great buy-low candidate a couple of weeks ago. Well, he’s now homered in his last two games and he’s batting .318 here in the month of May.
Oswaldo Arcia and Daniel Nava continue to be two of my favorite waiver acquisitions this year and watching this Minnesota/Boston series has been an absolute joy for me. Arcia has now hit safely in seven straight games and is batting .444 (12-for-27) with a home run, four RBI and four runs scored in that span. Meanwhile, Nava is batting .295 with five home runs and 21 RBI through his first 29 games this season and has been a boost for owners that were wise enough to pick him up early. One caveat with Nava though is that he’s now started like this in his last two seasons in the bigs and has failed to sustain the production beyond this point exactly. So be careful with him. He could be a good sell-high throw-in right now.
Where are all the Melky Cabrera supporters now? Seems to me that they were out in force prior to the offseason, talking about how the move to hitter-friendly Toronto would be a boost for him. Well, their silence is deafening here in May as his strikeouts are up, his walks are down and he’s hitting for virtually no power whatsoever. I’ll refrain from gloating too much here since there’s plenty of baseball still to come, but there is nothing in his batted ball data that indicates he will improve. Suckers!!
While John Buck squeezed out a 1-for-4 on Thursday with a single in the second inning, it should be noted that your big, power hitting catcher needed that single to end a 0-for-14 run at the plate and now has one hit in his last 17 at-bats. It’s a run like this that should indicate to you that it’s time to let go. Sell him if you can find a buyer, but if you can’t, don’t be afraid to be bold and just drop him outright. He’ll get snatched up immediately and someone will ridicule you for the move, but do you really want to endure a month of May that sees him hit .205 with maybe three home runs if you’re lucky?
There’s likely to be some regression coming, but there’s plenty to love about what’s happening with Patrick Corbin right now. His numbers have been absolutely phenomenal thanks to an increase in velocity which has made both his sinker and his slider that much more effective. The improved quality of those two pitches has allowed him to maintain a K/9 right around 7.00 (6.99 to be exact) and he’s seen a solid increase in his ground ball rate which is hovering right around 48-percent. Should he maintain numbers even close to his current rates and peripherals, there’s no way he’s coming out of the rotation regardless of how Tyler Skaggs pitches or when Daniel Hudson is expected back.
And finally, what’s a better note to finish on – Ryan Vogelsong’s disgusting 19.6-percent HR/FB which is killing his owners or Brian McCann’s first big game since his return? Considering the light at the end of the Vogelsong tunnel is getting dimmer and dimmer with each dismal start, we’ll just send some kudos out to McCann who could have a rebound that keeps Evan Gattis on the bench even more now that Jason Heyward’s appendectomy recovery is ahead of schedule.
Feeling like a stat hound? Here’s a quick glance at Thursday’s winners and losers…
|Brian McCann, C ATL||3-5, R, HR, 3 RBI|
|Alex Gordon, OF KC||2-4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI|
|Oswaldo Arcia, OF MIN||2-4, 2 R, 3B, HR, 2 RBI|
|Scott Kazmir, SP CLE||W, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 10 K|
|Patrick Corbin, SP ARI||W, 1.42 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 4 K|
|Derek Norris, C OAK||0-4, 3 K|
|Yoenis Cespedes, OF OAK||0-3, 3 K|
|Nolan Reimold, OF BAL||0-4, 3K|
|Bartolo Colon, SP OAK||L, 13.50 ERA, 2.00 WHIP, 4 K|
|Ryan Vogelsong, SP SF||L, 12.46 ERA, 2.31 WHIP, 7 K|
J.J. Putz, RP ARI – elbow (15-day DL – no surgery required)
Joel Hanrahan, RP BOS – forearm (transferred to 60-day DL – surgery possible; buh-bye)
Erick Aybar, SS LAA – hamstring (day to day)
Scott Downs, RP LAA – foot (day to day)
Carl Crawford, OF LAD – hamstring (day to day)
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B LAD – neck (day to day)
Rob Brantley, C MIA – finger (day to day)
Eduardo Nunez, SS NYY – ribs (day to day)
Jose Tabata, OF PIT – hamstring (day to day)
Santiago Casilla, RP SF – knee (day to day)
Jose Molina, C TB – knee (day to day)
Brandon Morrow, SP TOR – neck, back (day to day; insert your own Friday impression)
Jayson Werth, OF WAS – hamstring (day to day)
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can find his personal musings on RotobuzzGuy.com and for questions, thoughts or comments, you can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.
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