Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Up To Date Trade Analysis

Some of the trades that have come down still do not represent the big names we would have come to expect.  What we did see was some decline in value for some, a status quo for others, and finally some that had no real fantasy value outside of leagues with Holds.
Geovany Soto goes to the Rangers with his Mendoza batting average. The park alone should give him a chance to collect a few HR but Fantasy owners just cannot swallow his batting average any longer. For Fantasy purposes he is a bench player in the deepest leagues at best. This also leaves Yorvit Torrealba without a team and no Fantasy value.
Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson to Atlanta in basically the same roles they shared in Chicago. Maholm has pitched better this year than in any year in his career. I have owned him early in the year in a very deep league when he was getting blasted, 6.20 ERA in April. Dropped him and then started streaming him. His ERA has been all over the place since that bad April, 3.56 May, 5.18 June, and a 1.23 in July. Is he a sub 3.00 SP? No, but a worthy pick up 33% owned if you are in search or Wins. His K rate is less than spectacular as always. Johnson is a fun player to watch and root for. His balls out approach is a fan favorite but as far as Fantasy Managers go, he is no more than bench player in the deepest leagues who will get ABs against lefties down the stretch.  Remember, he can hit lefties, well over .300 for his career.
The Cubs get one time highly touted prospect Vizciano who is only months away from his TJ surgery. He is someone who will not be on the opening day roster next year but is worth a stash in deep Dynasty Leagues.
Travis Snider to the Pirates for Brad Lincoln. I see Snider as a power hitter who is an insurance policy if the Bucs cannot find an even better power bat later today. Not sure if the Bucs swing and miss by the deadline on a better bat than Snider's. Not even sure he will get everyday ABs in Pittsburgh. If I had to value his Fantasy worth it would…leave him on the wire.
Lincoln may get a look in the starting rotation for a couple of starts but pitching in the AL East is doom for most back end of the rotation SP as far as Fantasy goes. Decent K/9 but brutal conditions against great opponents.
The winner in this trade may be Rajai Davis. If the newly called up Gose does not show he is ready for the bigs, Davis slides in with some power and speed. He is the one I would target and stash for the next couple of weeks.
Brandon league to the Dodger. No, he will not assume the Closer role here. He is a set up man and no more. Holds will come his way so pick him up if your league counts Holds.
Thames to Seattle. Does he get the ABs left behind by the Suzuki trade? He may not even be on the roster. I could see him being sent to Triple A to finish the season. He does have power and looks like he has his stroke back. He was ripping Triple A pitching this year. It’s a wait a see on Thames for playing time and ABs.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A game called, "If I were GM"

By Corey R. Cunningham

In recent trade talk rumors, I have learned 3B Chase Headley is being watched closely by two teams, The Baltimore Orioles, and the Philadelphia Phillies. A couple days ago I wrote an article about the Phillies and their trade chips and at the time they were sellers, with talks of trading Hamel's, Pence, Wigginton, Rollins, Victorino and Polanco. We are going to take a look at a position of GM from both the O's and Phillies and I will act as the GM from the Padres in an asking price for Chase Headley. These two teams would not be my top choice of teams to choose from by prospect wise, however, it may be their only option from quantity over quality.

This is Kevin Towers calling from the Padres, I know your team is interested in my young 3B Headley and we are fielding offers for him; however, it will take some young talent to nab him. I am looking through your minor leagues and I like several players and I hear your set on not trading Manny Machado, or Dylan Bundy. Let’s not talk those two players, and give me a package like this: 2B/3B Nick Delmonico, OF L.J. Hoes, RHP Clayton Schrader, and 3B Mark Reynolds.

The above package may not be the best suitable package for Headly, yet, the O's are not moving their top two prized prospects, that being said, everyone else should be available. In the asking package, it gives you players at every position, with Delmonico staying at 2B, and Hoes taking over in the OF and having Reynolds fill your vacancy at 3B. With the sighing of Carlos Quentin and young guys like Guzman, Alonso and Grandal, look for the Padres to bring some pressure to the NL West in 2014 if they get a suitable package.

This is Kevin Towers calling from the Padres, we hear the Phillies are interested in our young 3B Chase Headley. We are very interested in your minor league prospects, and we could get a deal moving if you’re willing to part with some young talent. We would not be asking for several minor league players, however, we would like 2 nice prospects with a 3rd player thrown in, let me give you a stance on what we are interested in. LHP Jesse Biddle, RHP Jonathan Pettibone, and 2B Cesar Hernandez. We feel these 3 players could land Headley and we are interested in listening to counter offers.

The above asking package from the Padres to the Phillies is much better than the O's package; Biddle could solidify the No 2 spot in a rotation, especially if he was pitching at Pet co Park. Prospect Casey Kelly is waiting in the wings in the Padres minor leagues, so I am sure GM Kevin Towers is anxious in getting another solid SP to make a nice 1-2 punch.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Greinke Implications

Wake up all you AL only Fantasy league managers. You now have the biggest asset on the waiver wire to date. You should use all available funds to try and secure Greinke. He is a difference maker and could lead you to a title over his remaining dozen starts.

The 2009 Cy Young winner is so dominate down the stretch. Last year he finished post All-Star 12-3 with a 2.59 ERA with 102 Ks for a 9.4K/9. Did you realize he never lost game in Miller Park for the Brewers? In 23 starts he went an incredible 15-0. To benefit Greinke even greater is that he has a near super bullpen behind him in Anaheim.  Look for Greinke to finish the season 8-2 or better for the Halos with only a slight drop in K/9 after making the switch to the junior circuit.

On the other side of the coin the Brewers get Jean Segura who I spotlighted here just a week ago and predicted he might just be called up to showcase his talents as trade bait. It is yet to be determined if Segura will stay in the show of be sent down to Double or Triple A. He is still a top 50 prospect and should be on all Dynasty teams. Should gain SS eligibility when called up.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Help Coming at 3B

With A-Rod on the mend with a shattered left hand and Sandoval heding to the DL after doing the splits earlier this week  many Fantasy players are scrambling to find a 3B replacement. Someone who is flying under the radar is widely available. That would be Arizona’s recently called up 3B Ryan Wheeler.
The 5th round selection in 2009 by Arizona has moved steadily through their farm system. In 2011 Double A he posted a .294 average with 16 HR and 89 RBI. This year in Triple A he has been on fire. In 93 games he is hitting .351 with 15 HR and 90 RBI. Granted it is the PCL but those are still top notch offensive numbers.  This year he has also posted incredible OBP and SLG% numbers that are .376 OBP (he takes walks and has a great eye) with .482 SLG.  What really sticks out as I was researching him was his .442 batting average in June along with his 1.122 OPS that same month.
This kid can flat out hit from the left side. Scouts say he is a true gap hitter with good balance and great bat speed. At 6’3 240 lbs he is in the mold of a Ryan Zimmerman type but from the left side. A good pick up because the job at 3B is Wheelers to lose. Since letting Geoff Blum go and trading Ryan Roberts there is no one in Wheelers way at the hot corner.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Phillies on the Block

By Corey R. Cunningham

Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have locked up their South Paw pitcher Cole Hamels to a 6 year, $144 MM contract, look for the Phillies to be sellers in the OF and Utility. The Phillies are looking to Unload OF Hunter Pence, OF Shane Victorino and UTL man Ty Wigginton.

The only bad thing about the trade deadline is for fantasy owners, the reason for this is if you already have players for certain teams, you hate to see other players coming to that particular team. For instance, rumors have it Hunter Pence and the Dodgers have connections, and if you ar a Andre Either or Matt Kemp owner, that may take a little production away, more so from Either than Kemp, but not always a good thing when another spark plug comes to a contending team.

Hunter Pence is batting .268 with 17 HR, 58 RBI, 59 R and 4 SB. Hunter Pence is always a valuable asset to any team and any fantasy team, keep an eye out for his trade value and where he could possibly be headed to, I know his numbers have went down this year in Philly and so has the Phillies as a whole.

Shane Victorino is being targeted by many teams including the Pirates, Dodgers, and Reds. Victorino will add valuable defense to any team he joins as well as speed on the bath paths. Shane on the season is batting .253 with 8 HR, 38 RBI, 42 R, and 22 SB.

Ty Wigginton is getting attention as a utility man for many teams and not much rumor on him except for the Yankees being interested, as they are interested in just about every player out there on the trading block. Wigginton is hitting just .235 with 9 HR, 36 RBI, 33 R and 1 SB on the season, look for his bat not to be a huge impact on any team; however the Orioles could also be suitors for this once Birdland junkie player.

My Predictions:

Hunter Pence: Reds

Shane Victorino: Dodgers

Ty Wigginton: Pirates

Trades Keep o’ Coming

Wandy getting congrats on being traded to a contender

Wandy to Pittsburgh: Wandy gets the boost here for Fantasy managers. He moves to a more pitcher friendly park, a team with a much better offense, and the change of scenery alone will boost his confidence. He will lower both his ERA and WHIP while gaining a few W along the way. Wandy gets an increase in value from this point forward. Who Houston will use to replace Wandy in the line-up is a toss-up. Whoever it is has little to no fantasy value at this point.
Hanley being lazy running down a booted ball

Hanley to the Dodgers: The Fantasy community needs to get over the fact that Han Ram will never hit .340 again. With that said he is still a SS eligible player with nearly 15 HR and 15 SB. Anyone of you would take a 20/20 SS so quit complaining.  Can he hit close to .300 again yes, will he do it? Only if his attitude changes. He has become an outcast in the clubhouse and this change could do the same as it did for Manny a few years back. For Dynasty and Keeper league managers this is great for you because Hanley should regain SS eligibility due to Dee Gordon being down with a torn thumb ligament. As far as Eovaldi to Florida: He had minimal fantasy value in Dodger town and now being 3000 mile away and has dwindled to nil.
A-Rod and his new broken left hand

A-Rod’s hand injury leaves the door open for a 3B to gain enormous fantasy value immediately. I feel Chase Headley will be the one going to the Bronx. If you can snag him this morning try and do so. The Yankees will not wait long to act.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tigers and Marlins Trade Review

By Corey R. Cunningham

Yesterday we learned the Tigers were seeking a SP and a 2B, many rumors flew around the sports network, yet only one came true. The Tigers were interested in making a swap with the Diamondbacks; Johnny Peralta for Stephen Drew, however, the deal never happened, instead the Tigers pulled the trigger and traded their top pitching prospect Jacob Turner and 2 other prospects Rob Brantly, and Brian Flynn to the Miami Marlins for RHP Anibal Sanchez and 2B Omar Infante.

Last year during the trade deadline when the Tigers acquired RHP Doug Fister the Mariners were interested in Jacob Turner and according to the Tigers he was, “untouchable”. I am not exactly sure what had happened to Turner’s “untouchable” label, but it may be his 8.03 ERA, 1-1 record, and 1.95 WHIP. Turner had very similar numbers in 2011 in the same amount of games, I guess in Detroit you only get 3 games to pitch a year, and if you fail you’re traded.

The Marlins also acquired C Rob Brantly who was at AAA Toledo, where he was batting .254, 11 R, 33 H, 4 2B, .295 OBP, and .285 SLG. Also sent to Miami south paw Brian Flynn, who started just one game at AA Erie for the Tigers, however, looking at High A Lakeland stats, 8-4, 3.71 ERA, 102 IP, 42 ER, 84 K, 1.422 WHIP, and 7.4 K/9.

As far as the return the Tigers received, I believe they could have gotten RHP Josh Johnson in return if they were going to give up their top pitching prospect. Instead they settled for middle man of the rotation RHP Anibal Sanchez who has a 3.94 ERA, 5-7, 110 K, 33 BB, and a 1.26 WHIP. Anibal will have to adjust quickly going to the AL, as his last 3 outings during interleague play were unsuccessful, going 0-2 in 3 appearances and giving up 13 R in those 3 games.

Detroit went after a familiar 2B in Omar Infante who was signed by Detroit and started his career there. Infante will add a decent bat in Detroit’s lineup, and more than likely be a leadoff man or in the No. 2 Hole with Jackson, and moving Quentin Berry down to 8th or 9th in the batting order. Infante is hitting .287 on the season with 8 HR, 33 RBI, 42 R, and 10 SB.

This trade in my opinion brings Sanchez’s value down going to the AL where there is more power hitters and more hitter friendly parks, although it may raise Infante’s value going to a better lineup. One thing has me pondering why they made this deal, when just a few weeks ago the Marlins traded for 1B Carlos Lee. Now Josh Johnson is being scouted heavily, look for him to possible get traded soon, however, if I was Miami, I’d hold onto Johnson and work with Turner to have a nice future one-two punch.

Trade Grade:

Miami: B+

Detroit: C+

Monday, July 23, 2012

Segura Recalled

The Halos have recalled 2B/SS Jean Segura from Double A. Segura has been regarded as the Angles best prospect behind the mighty Mike Trout and as high as the 22nd best overall. Segura will get some playing time while Aybar is down with a bad toe that might even put him on the DL for a stint. Maicer Izturis may get the early starts but Segura figures to get his share.

Segura has speed and beats out grounders like no one else. He has an athletic, aggressive swing that scouts seem to love. Back in Spring Training Segura put up a slash line of .381/.462/.714 which would have gotten any other rookie a roster spot. So far this year Segura is hitting .294 with 7HR and 33 SB.

Segura has also had a few injuries while coming up, mostly hamstring related. The ceiling is high for Segura and I have owned him in my Dynasty League for a couple of years now. It will be fun to see how he does in that monster Angels line-up for a few weeks. This could also be a quick showcase for trade bait if the Angels want additional pitching. For Fantasy purposes he may a good add until the trade deadline just in case he gets moved and takes over a starting spot. Currently he is listed as a 2B in both ESPN and Yahoo. If he gets a few starts he will gain SS eligibility.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Houston & White Sox Stay Active


 By Corey R. Cunningham
Yet another post about the Houston Astros, as they continue to pursue depth for their minor league rosters. Yesterday, I posted the Astros and Blue Jays made a 10 player deal, again today, Houston acquired two more minor league players for RHP Brett Myers.
I had written in my post yesterday, the deal which the Astros acquired RHP Francisco Cordero would be good to get Brett Myers back in the starting rotation, however looks as if I was wrong and the Astros had no intentions in doing so, yet looks as if Cordero will get the closer role going forward now with no competition.
The Astros picked up RHP Matthew Heidenreich from AA Birmingham with a 1-2 record, 5.89 ERA, 18 IP, 12 ER, and a 1.75 WHIP. They also picked up South Paw Blair Walters from High-A Winston-Salem, with a 1-3 record, 7.01 ERA, 25 IP, 20 ER, and a 1.63 WHIP. Walters started the year at Low A Kannapolis getting promoted to High A, where in Kannapolis he had a 3-3 record, with a 2.88 ERA, and a 1.097 WHIP, looks as if he is struggling to say the least in his promotion.
The White Sox continue to add quality depth at such a low expense, as they are on record for only owing Brett Myers $1MM, of his $4.45MM still owed to him this year. Myers will add much needed depth in the bullpen for the Sox and could pick up a spot start or two going forward, barring any injury. Myers has an 0-4 record, with a 3.52 ERA, 20 K, and 19 S this season.
Not sure what to expect from Houston going forward, as I did write yesterday, they have several young players that could contribute going forward, and some young prospects awaiting in the spotlight down in the minors, as I forgot to mention yesterday, coming to Houston with Jonathan Singleton was P Jarred Cosart who is currently sitting at AA Corpus Christi with a 4-5 record, 3.86 ERA, 79 IP and a 1.45 WHIP. Cosart had pitched one game at AAA Oklahoma City this year, however got hit hard in 6 IP, giving up 10 H, and 4 ER.
Houston could be the sleeper team the Tampa Bay Rays put out a couple years ago, as they were once the joke of the league, or they could be the Baltimore Orioles of baseball who continue to rush their young prospects up to the majors.
Trade grade:
Houston: D
Chicago: B+

11.6K/9 Coming Soon To Oakland

The Oakland A’s lead the American League in ERA and are only ½ games out of the wild-card race. With their plethora of top starting pitcher they have the luxury of trading off the ones they want to possibly shore up their offense.  Once the A’s decide which starter, probably Colon, to move they have another gem waiting in Triple A.

What they have is only another top strikeout pitcher. His name is Dan Straily. The 23 year old was a 24th round pick of Oakland back in 2009 and he has been in both Double and Triple A this season where he is 6-6 with a 2.64 ERA and WHIP under 1.00 to date. Here is what  really gets Fantasy players excited. In 126 innings he has only given up 87 hits and has 162 Ks. That is 11.6K/9 and he has actually pitched better in Triple A than in Double A and he pitches in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. Before this year Straily was just another 4.00 ERA pitcher with some K potential. This year he has completely turned it around.

Since the A’s are stockpiled with excellent Starters they are in the cat bird’s seat when it comes to negotiating strong returns for their players. One current starter could even get placed back in the bullpen to give Straily a look.  Either way I see him pitching in the Bigs by the month’s end. You should definitely give him a look and start him when he is pitching at home. I recently picked him up in my Dynasty League

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Look Inside...Astros&BlueJays Trade

By Corey R. Cunningham

Early this morning, the Astros and Blue Jays completed a 10 player deal, that sent 7 players to the Astros. There was no blockbuster trade occurring here, however, both deals could help each team in the near future. The deal included players from Toronto going to Houston: RHP Francisco Cordero, OF Ben Francisco, minor league players Joe Musgrove, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins, Carlos Perez and Player to be named later in exchange for South Paw J.A. Happ, RHP Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter headed to Toronto.

This trade will boost the minor league system for the Astros, and it is a good thing, as their minor league system is depleted to say the least. They have good prospects but only a hand full at best, although a team is 9 players playing together, so lets see how they shape up going forward; they will be an American League team next year in the AL West.

I believe the Astros have won this deal, as it never hurts to try to reach for the stars with prospects who could turn out to be stars, and nonetheless give up nothing in return for the gamble. My motto: your not winning with them, so why not move them. This regarding J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter; I once believed Happ would turn into a decent No. 3 starter, however, his one year wonder with the Phillies turned into nothing special.

Cordero, once a household name in Cincinnati, will bring some great experience with him to Houston, although, it is not known if the Astros will sign him for next year, and he could possibly take over the closers role and bring back Brett Myers to the starting rotation. Ben Francisco had his best years in Philly, and I believe he will be nothing more than a AAA star, yet in Houston, with a depleted roster and a young one at that, he will probably get the nod somewhere in the OF corner.

Houston will continue to boost their minor league system, and it is only a plus to do so, although I don’t think they will be much more active on the trade block as they like their young stars on the MI Altuve, and Lowrie as well as J.D. Martinez and if Brett Wallace comes around they will have a solid young 4 players, and Jonathan Singleton lurking in the minors.

Houston’s needs: Catcher, SP, 1B.

Toronto Needs: SP, RP

Houston Trade Grade: C+

Toronto Trade Grade: C

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You Could Be Gyrating Over Gyorko at the Trade Deadline

With the start of the trading whirl wind that will get underway any minute now you should know of a sure fire call-up once the dominos start to fall. As you remember from the article on Headley last week, I expect him to be one of the first tradesto be made. In his place  the Padres will call up one of the best hitters in the Minors. Their new 3B will be Jedd Gyorko. The Padres have moved Gyorko from 2B to 3B over the past couple of weeks.

All Gyorko is doing is hitting over .320 with 21 HR and 73 RBI between Double and Triple A this season. In Triple A alone he is hitting an unbelievable .351 over a 55 game span with an OPS of 1.014. Since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2010, Gyorko has just smashed the ball and has never hit below .300 at any level.  For Fantasy purposes; what hurts his value will be playing in Petco. Besides that he is true professional hitter.  It is interesting that Yahoo has him as a 3B but ESPN has him listed as 2B eligible.  He is definitely worth a stash on your bench if you have the room.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Little Man Standing Large

By Corey R. Cunningham

Minnesota Twins OF Ben Revere is all of 5’ 9” tall, and weighs 170 lb wet, though he has held his ground back in Minnesota. The former 1st round pick started the 2012 season on the Twins roster, before struggling and getting demoted to AAA Rochester. Ben spent all of 23 games in Rochester this year, and he spent a hand full of games with the Twins before being sent down.

During Revere’s AAA stint, he batted .330, in 94 AB with 9 R, 31 H, 1 2B, 6 RBI, and had 6 SB. He has never been a slouch to minor league hitting, as he has a career minor league batting average of .326.

Thus far, through 55 games with the Twins, Ben has a line of .319 BA, 14 RBI, 27 R, and 19 SB. Revere has been clutch for the Twins, and as far as offense goes, they were predicted to have one of the lower tier offenses in the Majors. As of now Minnesota ranks 15th in Runs, 9th in Hits, 11th in Doubles, 23rd in Triples, 22nd in HR, 17th in Total Bases, 15th in RBIs, 9th in AVG, 10th in OBP, 20th in SLG, and 15th in OPS. Looking at those averages it seems as if Minnesota is right in the middle of the pack, that is not the case. The are bringing up the rear in the AL Central

I picked up Ben in late May, and had stuck him in one of my starting OF spots, since then I have never looked back. He has been great for my team, as it was lacking a bit in TB, AVG, and SB. Needless to say, Ben has contyributed in all 3 categories to boost my team and Ben could do the same for yours. Of course, he will not produce many power numbers or RBI; however, he will give you R, SB, TB, and AVG. I’ll take 4 out of 6 categories.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sheets Keeps the Braves Rollin'

It was just 11 days ago I posted this about Ben Sheets. At that time he was owned in just 1% of leagues. Yesterday, during his start, I picked him up in every league where I had not picked him up previously and he was owned in 6% of leagues. Today he now owned in 21% of leagues. Most notably the most added player at this time.
What did he do yesterday? He gave the Braves an outstanding start. He only allowed 0 Runs, 2 Hits, 1 BB, while striking out 5. He finished strong by retiring the last 10 batters he faced. What I like the most about his performance was his comments after the game. He stated he hasn’t felt this good in quite awhile, He feels healthier now than he did in Oakland 2 years ago.
His next start will be against Washington later this week and he draws a possible Strasburg matchup on Friday. We all know his past and that he is highly injury prone but he was still the starting All-Star pitcher just 4 short years ago for the Brewers. With the Braves on a hot streak and Sheets proving them with their 7th win a row, it might be time to catch lightning in a bottle and ride the Big Ben train until it falls off the tracks.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Seize Some Pirates

Unlike last year’s Pirates fell good story this years team is in it for the long haul. Last year’s team fizzled out with the rigors of the long season and only picking up a 35 year old Derrek Lee to push them to a playoff spot. This year’s team is a little older, ready for the long haul, and has a much better starting pitching staff. The bullpen is one of the best too. Remember that the Pirate led the league in Runs scored in the month of June.

For the next 3 weeks you need to be aware of these Pittsburgh Pirates. Their next 19 games are against teams with losing records. From this point forward they have the easiest schedule in the majors the rest of the year. The teams they will be playing for the remaining 70+ games have a winning percentage of .461. It is time to feast on both the hitting and pitching of the Buccos. Many of their players are still available on the wire and can be easy trade targets from your league mates.

The Pirates will also go after a bat in the next couple of weeks. Expect a 1B or OF to come in and hit in the 4-5-0r 6t hole. Whoever they pick up in a trade Garret Jones will stay put with everyday at-bats and either play 1B or OF depending on whom they acquire.  We all know McCutchen is having an MVP season and is most likely the only Pirate that cannot be had via trade. The rest of the team though is ripe for the pickings.

1B Garrett Jones 18% Owned: Has legit power and once a trade is made he will have an everyday job and get more ABs.

2B Neil Walker 62% Owned: Hitting over .290 with 40+ R & RBI with 7HR & 7SB. A 15/15 guy hitting near .300 at MI sounds great to me.

SS Clint Barmes 1% Owned: Not Fantasy relevant. If the Bucs went out and got say a JJ Hardy it would be a huge upgrade. I see them going after 1B/OF type but do not be surprised if the try and sneak a trade for a hard hitting SS.

3B Pedro Alvarez 42% Owned: If you drafted Mark Reynolds for power at 3B you should now consider Alvarez and his power and hitting near .250 now. He has definitely taken over the 3B spot from Casey McGehee.

OF Drew Sutton 1% Owned: He was acquired off waiver form TB earlier in the year. He is hitting just a tick under .300 and is switch hitter with 3B eligibility.

OF Starling Marte 1% Owned: He hasn’t been called up yet, look for it to happen sooner or later especially if Jose Tabata continues to struggle in the minors.

SP A.J. Burnett 72% Owned, Erik Bedard 27% Owned, James McDonald 87% Owned, Jeff Karstens 5% Owned, Kevin Correia 2% Owned. The first 4 SP listed have a K/9 ratio of 7.85 which is fantastic. All are worth owning at this stage of the season.

RP Jason Grilli 15% Owned: All Grilli has done is pull down a WHIP under 1 with 54 Ks in only 32 innings. He I a lock down set up man. With him and Hanrahan at the back of the pen, the Pirates do not blow many late inning leads.

So watch the Pirates start to pull away by the trade deadline and look for some hitters start wanting to come to Pittsburgh for the playoff push which has been a problem in the past. Winning cures all of that. On a pure PR standpoint the club would like to award their fans with a big name since they were unable to sign their 1st round pick Mark Appel. Most likely players coming to the Pirates: Victorino, BJ Upton, LaHair, or Soriano.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Safe Play or Risk It All

Bt Corey R. Cunningham

Most leagues by now have plenty of room between playoff teams and non playoff teams, at least the gaps are far apart to a point where managers will know if they will be buyers or sellers come the trade deadline. This key point will play a key role in your remaining weeks of your team as a manager. You will need to narrow down your wants, and needs of the team, and remember not all big moves make impacts; small moves also have an impact on a fantasy team.

You may have a stacked offensive lineup, however, come pitching your weak in depth, and pending on your categories it can make or break you. Keep in mind, you always want to have a set lineup and always want to make sure you have key bench players, it takes too much time to think about which players to bench and which players to start every week, it is rather simple; Play the best players available, bench the worst players. Even if an offensive guy goes 0-12 in 3 games and a bench player goes 6-12 those particular games you have him on the bench, I can guarantee you if you switch the two players, you will get opposite results, it is just the way it works.

If you deal in trade picks, and you’re a seller, go after minor league picks or high to mid level draft picks, don’t just settle for bottom of the barrel picks, remember you have the upper hand in dealing when it comes time to the trade deadline. Make yourself a list of your potential keepers, i.e. players that are staying, and players that you could move.

Always try to increase your depth as much as you can, when possible. Never leave 2-3 good SP on the table for 1 bat. For example, I had seen a trade offer acceptance looking like this. Jacoby Ellsbury for C.J. Wilson, Scott Diamond, and Matt Harrison. Pending on your roster and keepers this is a win-win situation for both; however, I give the trophy to the 3 deep SP rotations. Normally Ellsbury for Wilson could be straight up possibly a little add on for C.J. Wilson, however, that team ended up with 1 “B” tier arm and 2 “C” tier arms. Ellsbury is injury prone as all baseball players are, however, Ellsbury is getting top notch “A” tier respect due to one great season of fundamental baseball. Ask Eric Hosmer owners what they think of one year wonders, or should I say sophomore slumps.

If you are a buyer, go strong, go hard, get what you need and if your close to the trophy, or money, give up what you need to, to an extent. Take a look at your categories under the “stats” and see where you are most comfortable, and perhaps take a look at giving up a guy where you can afford to lose him and not be affected that much, second, look in landing a guy where your stats are weak. I am making my comparison to a trade offer most recently in a public league, SP Felix Hernandez for Joe Mauer, and Paul Goldschmidt. This is a tight deal, and many would lean towards King Felix, and if I needed pitching I would give up both Mauer and Goldschmidt in a heartbeat for Hernandez. All players give you most categories and when you need certain categories it never hurts to gain in others as well.

It is the second half of the season, stay cool, calm and collective if you’re in the hunt, pay attention to the FA and the Waiver Wire players, and pay close particular attention to September call up rumors. If you’re not in the hunt, go after picks, and stock up on draft day as it will be much needed help from your disappointing season. Good luck to all, and may the best management team win.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Trip Around the Minors

By Corey R. Cuninham
AAA Pawtucket C Ryan Lavarnway: 70 G, 263 AB, 47 R, 81 H, 7 HR, 38 RBI, .308 BA 
AAA Columbus 1B Matt Laporta: 69 G, 254 AB, 45 R, 77 H, 17 HR, 43 RBI, .303 BA
AAA Las Vegas C Travis d’Arnaud: 67 G, 279 AB, 45 R, 93 H, 16 HR, 52 RBI, .333 BA  
AAA Indianapolis P Rudy Owens: 7-4, 2.89 ERA, 106 IP, 99 H, 34 ER, 12 HR, 76 K
AAA Buffalo P Matt Harvey: 7-4, 3.39 ERA, 98 IP, 87 H, 37 ER, 7 HR, 102 K
AA Binghamton P Zack Wheeler: 8-4, 2.62 ERA, 92 IP, 66 H, 27 ER, 1 HR, 88 K 
AA Jackson P Danny Hultzen: 8-3, 1.19 ERA, 75 IP, 38 H, 10 ER, 2 HR, 79 K
AA Springfield 2B Kolten Wong: 80 G, 314 AB, 48 R, 96 H, 7 HR, 34 RBI, .306 BA  
The above players are a minimal amount of talent that is currently playing in the minor leagues, all of which the above players will be in the Majors sometime this year for September call ups or perhaps start out the 2013 year on the MLB roster.
Pending on what type of league you play on, these players may appeal to you. If you play on just a random public league with no dynasty, or keepers involved, this does not apply. However, if you are a dynasty owner, pay close attention to some of the above named players. As time gets closer to September and the playoffs you will start to see each player making their first MLB appearance or perhaps get called back up from being demoted, such as Matt Laporta who is making a huge impact in Columbus.
In most if not all Dynasty leagues you will see owners closer to the end of the season, dropping non essential players for players on the above list and others for that matter to keep for next season for a cheap price. I myself will be eyeing up several players to drop in order to add some nice minor league talent for next year.
I have an owner in a league I currently play in, last year he gambled and spent two mid round picks on OF Mike Trout and OF Bryce Harper, and Trout only seen limited action in 2011. However, this year that particular owner made out with both prospects producing like superstars, and he should have a nice OF combo for a decade or so. You may hit a diamond in the rough, or you may just hit the rough on the gamble, but it is only a gamble, and it is worth taking. For instance, dropping a SP who is non essential, I.E. Jason Vargas right now, and picking up SP Danny Hultzen. Yes, Hultzen is still in AA, however, by 2013 he will be in the starting rotation, and he will more than likely get a September call up.
Remember the gamble is all there, you just have to take the risk, and hope for the best reward possible. It is your team, balance it how you would like, but keep this in mind, I believe to stay young and true to your roster, if you have ‘age’ on your roster, you need to factor that in for rebuilding.
Continue to have a great second half of the fantasy season, and if you are on the down fall in a keeper or dynasty league, move players who are mid level players and gain all the pick(s), and players you can for the following year, especially try to concentrate on gaining minor league picks.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Short Week Starts 2nd Half

The baseball season is a 6 month grind for players and Fantasy owners alike. After a 5 day mental break from action it is time to get back to the business of winning your league. This break is always a good time to evaluate your early round picks and if they are not producing like you wished get the trade juices going. Use that name recognition and early ADP to your advantage and move the dead weight to someone else’s team. I’m talking about you Adrian Gonzalez…I would move you today for Rizzo.
On the pitching side it is a short week and you should take advantage of the wire for some great opportunities to bury your competition in Wins and Ks over the next 3 days. You should at least 6 SP going in your Daily leagues this weekend. If you don’t you are giving away a couple of easy category wins. Pick up a few of these SP to bolster your stats on Friday and Saturday. Then come Sunday you may such an insurmountable lead on the pitching side you can coast. Your best bets to reinforce pitching this weekend are:
Franklin Morales @ TB: He is good for both the Win and Ks.
Paul Maholm vs. ARI: 3.26 ERA 1.05 WHIP and 7K/9 at home this year.
Freddy Garcia vs. LAA: Good for the Win. Cano will go off in this game after his Home Run Derby debacle.
Luke Hochevar vs. CHW: Good for ERA and WHIP help.
Chris Tillman vs. DET: He will help all peripherals Sunday afternoon.
Carlos Villanueva vs. CLE: Same as Tillman…ERA WHIP & Ks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Braves Take a Hard Hit

By Corey R. Cunningham

The Atlanta Braves on Sunday took a hard hit to reality on Sunday when starting SS Andrelton Simmons was placed on the DL for about a month with a broken right little finger.

Simmons was called up on June 2nd, replacing a struggling Tyler Pastornicky. Simmons was on a roll hitting in the 7th and 8th hole comfortably for the past 30 games. Before Simmons went onto the DL he had a .296 BA, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 13 R, and 1 SB.

Simmons’ BA has dipped quite a bit in the past 8 days, from hitting .333 on July 1, to hitting .296, July 8th. Simmons has been a slump, going 4-25 in the first week of July thus far. That is not good considering he has had 10 multi hit games in 25 games in June.

While Simmons is out for at least a month, Pastornicky should get recalled from AAA Gwinnett where he has put his bat together again. Tyler has a .264 BA, 14 R, 38 H, 14 2B, 1 HR, 20 RBI, and 3 SB in 144 AB for the Gwinnett Braves. If you have Simmons on your roster like myself, look to add another SS besides Pastornicky for his lack of performance the last time he was at Atlanta.

If you have Simmons you can easily place him on the DL slot, however, its hard to occupy a spot for a guy on the DL who has the time of experience he has, if he returns the way he did performance wise, or perhaps Pastornicky gets a hold of his bat even more, and the Braves place Simmons in AAA once returning from his injury. Many options to consider, and to be honest, no need to fool around; cut Simmons and plug another guy in at the SS, or MI slot position. Look to add guys of Ruben Tejada, or perhaps go to the trading block and acquire a guy who will put you over the top and head into a playoff run.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Waiver Wire All-Stars

With the All-Star Break starting this week I thought it would be interesting to look at the players that went largely undrafted this year in Fantasy Baseball but are having phenomenal seasons. I call this my Waiver Wire All Start Team. If you are still contending in your league you should have picked up at least a couple of the players sometime through out the first half of the season. If you haven’t picked up any of these players you have done yourself a disservice and are not fully engaged in the waiver wire like you should be.  Most of these players are still some what available to fill in for your injured stars, CI and MI slots, additional bench roles and extra pitching depth. These are players that had an ADP near 300 coming into the season and were rarely drafted but are all top 150 players to date. I have listed the % owned. Remember too that many of these players have multi-position eligibility.

National League                                              American League

C         Carlos Ruiz 89%                                    A.J. Pierzynski 80%

1B       Adam LaRoche 56%                             Chris Davis 49%

2B       Aaron Hill 75%                                      Trevor Plouffe 78%

3B       Chase Headley 53%                               Mike Aviles 80%

SS        Jed Lowrie 61%                                     Alcides Escobar 44%

OF       Angel Pagan 61%                                  Mike Trout 92%

OF       Allen Craig 77%                                     Josh Reddick 82%

OF       Bryce Harper 85%                               Alejandro De Aza 75%

SP        R.A. Dickey 93%                                    Jake Peavy 91%

SP        James McDonald 86%                            Chris Sale 92%

SP        Wade Miley 76%                                    Matt Harrison 80%

RP       Aroldis Chapman 88%                            Fernando Rodney 92%

The lesson here is…scourer your waiver wire as often as possible. There are 40 HR hitters on this list that went undrafted, 100 RBI players, .300+ BA, and possible 20/20 guys. You do not win your league come draft day, you win your league by staying on top of players who are over producing and cutting those under achieving. What are some of your waiver wire All-Stars?