Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Three Fantasy Pickups for September

By John Campbell

With one month left in the MLB regular season, fantasy baseball owners are looking to make some smart moves to position themselves for a title run. In order to do that, it is very important to stay on top of the game in general. Teams are shutting down players left and right due to injuries, and that means other players are going to get a chance to have success. Baseball in the month of September is much different than in April. Here’s a look at 3 guys available in more than half of the fantasy baseball leagues out there. They should all be able to have quite a bit of success in the last month, so pick them up if there is space.


Jake Odorizzi


For one reason or another, fantasy baseball owners are pretty slow to pick up on Odorizzi this season. Perhaps they are scared off by a slow start to the regular season, but the 24-year-old still has plenty of potential. In a recent start against the Baltimore Orioles, he was absolutely dominated. Some people in fantasy baseball might be a little scared off by that, but he is a guy who has been solid since the All-Star break other than that appearance. Considering the fact that he strikes out hitters at a high rate, he is worth the gamble down the stretch.


Arismendy Alcantara


At this stage in the season, versatility is key. There are very few solid players available in free agencies that have eligibility at 3 different positions in fantasy baseball. Alcantara can play at 2nd base, shortstop or outfield if need be. His batting average is not very high, but he is someone who can contribute decent power numbers and speed. Now that he’s getting a chance to play every single day, he’s going to put up numbers.


Michael Wacha


After starring in the playoffs last year, Wacha has battled through a pretty rough 2014 regular season. He has been injured for a while now, but the 23-year-old is now getting a chance to contribute down the stretch. He has been rehabbing nicely in the minor-league system, but as soon as the year is over in the minors, St. Louis could call him up and use him right away. Grab him now before he is officially back in the rotation.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hold Off On Pitching In 2014

By Will Banks

The fantasy baseball 2014 season is right around the corner, and people are starting to do their initial research for their draft strategy. There are always several different ways to attack a draft, but this season it would probably be wise to avoid going after starting pitching early on.


When you take a look at starting pitchers these last few years, there have really only been a handful of dependable starters who can be counted on to provide outstanding value. There is just too much inconsistency at the position right now, and a lot of that has to do with injuries. So many of the best pitchers in the game go through cold spells or injury issues that is just seems like a huge risk to draft them in the first, second or even third round in fantasy baseball 2014.


One pitcher who is the exception to the rule is Clayton Kershaw. He has been a Cy Young caliber pitcher for the last three seasons, and he should be dominant once again in fantasy baseball 2014. However, even he is not completely clear of any injury. His workload has been pretty heavy these last few years. The Dodgers might be wise to cut him back a little bit now that they have him locked in to such a long contract.


Pitchers such as Yu Darvish, Adam Wainwright, Felix Hernandez, Max Scherzer and more may appear to be bonafide aces, but they are simply not as consistent as top end positional talent. There are also going to be plenty of starting pitchers who come out of nowhere and post low ERAs while picking up double-digit wins. The same can’t be said quite as much for an infielder or outfielder. The smart money going into fantasy baseball 2014 is to invest in the Mike Trouts and the Miguel Cabreras of the world and wait for pitching later on.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

NL East Prospects...Worth a Look

This crop of prospects coming up in the NL East has All-Star written all over most of them. Each has a specific skill set that separates them from others in their organization. They are worth drafting in all Dynasty Leagues or a spare bench spot if possible. Definitively keep them on your waiver priority list when they get their shot.


Atlanta Braves

Atlanta has a stockpile of B grade prospects but no real slam dunk prospect that will contribute in 2014. That being said I feel their best prospect for the future is Lucas Simms. He is a local kid who throws in the mid 90s with both a curve and change. He throws strikes and has a very athletic build. Last year he went 12-4 with 134K in only 117 innings while only giving up 83 hits. Look for an increase in innings and monitor how a larger workload could affect him.

Miami Marlins

Many come draft day will be thinking of Christian Yelich as a possible sleeper to target. He is the one getting all the pre draft press at the moment. The one I want you to consider is Jake Marisnick. He went from A ball to The Show last year. Coming off minor knee surgery he is good to go come spring training. CF is his to lose as I feel Yelich will have competition from Ozuna in LF.  Once he secures CF the best possible scenario would for him to hit 2nd in the order . If he hits 7th or 8th his value drops dramatically. He has potential for a 12/12 guy who could put up some good Run numbers hitting in front of Stanton.

New York Mets

Probably a mid season call up Noah Syndergaard is the real deal. IN 117 innings pitched between High-A and Double-A last season the right hander went 9-4 with a 3.06 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 133 Ks. After getting time in big-league camp during spring training in 2014, Syndergaard will likely start the season with the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s. Sound familiar? New York did the same with its other two top pitching prospects; Harvey and Wheeler. Be the first to use your waiver request or FA dollars to snag this guy if you do not draft him.

Philadelphia Phillies

Maikel Franco, 3B, began the 2013 season with the Clearwater Threshers for 65 games. All he did was hit 16 home runs (40 XBH), 52 RBI for a .299/.349/.576 slash line. At the time of his promotion he was leading the Florida State League in doubles (23) and tied in HR (16) with Minnesota Twins mega prospect Miguel Sano. He was promoted to Double-A and continued to hit. Somehow the fast rising prospect performed even better against more advanced pitching. The final line after 69 games though was promising to say the least: .339/.363/.563 with 15 HR, 51 RBI (30 XBH). His combined stats for the season were 36 2B, 3 3B, 31 HR, 103 RBI, 1 SB, 2 CS, 30 BB, 70 K, .320 AVG, .356 OBP, .569 SLG in 541 total at bats across High-A & Double-A. It looks like Asche and Howard are blocking his spot at the Major League level but he is only 1 injury away from a call-up.

Washington Nationals

The Nats have a true 15/20 leadoff hitter in Brian Goodwin. He is the top OF prospect in the Nats system. The 2011 1st round pick put up a fantastic slash line last summer and then was a standout in the Arizona Fall League which is a final tune up for the Bigs.  In Arizona he had a 19 game season which he put up a .296 BA with 4 Doubles, 1 Triple, 2HRs and 3 SB in 88 Pas for the winning Mesa Solar Sox. He wil be the Nats replacement for Denard Span who is signed through this year so a trade of Span or an injury will keep Goodwin down in Triple A until then.

Monday, January 6, 2014

AL Central Prospects...Worth a Look

It’s been 3 years today since launching my site. With 63K hits and 500 posts I still enjoy the writings and interaction with other passionate Fantasy Baseball followers.  Made some great internet friends, joined some fantastic leagues and helped many compete in their leagues.  So a simple quick thanks for all the people who come by my site from all over the world.  I do appreciate your support.  Now back to the task at hand. Let’s continue with prospects to keep on your radar for 2014. I especially like all that the AL Central has to offer.

AL Central

Minnesota Twins


Josmil Pinto should be drafted in all leagues this year as a backup catcher. With Mauer being moved to 1B the Twins will have an opening behind the plate. To date the Twins have signed Kurt Suzuki to mentor the core of young catchers the Twins have in camp. Of that core Pinto is by far the best offensive and Fantasy relevant catcher in Minnesota.  He followed up his strong 2012 numbers with a .309/.400/.482 line in 2013, combined between Double-A and Triple-A, with 32 doubles, 15 homers, and 66 walks in 126 games. In a small sample size with the big league club he hit .342 with a .964 OPS in 83 PAs. If he breaks camp this spring on the 25 man roster he could see ABs at DH 1x a week when not catching.

Kansas City Royals 

Yordano Ventura has quite an electric fastball. His 97.5 average fastball velocity was the highest among every single pitcher who made a start in 2013. Even cooler, his fastball touched 101.9 mph according to PITCHf/x. It’s not outrageous for a reliever to throw that hard, as nine of them have since PITCHf/x has delivered reliable data. But starting pitchers simply don’t. That velocity comes with some wildness but that is expected for a 22 year old. I feel he gets a shot in the Royal’s rotation but will be on a 120-140 innings limit. So take a chance on this pitcher with tremendous upside.


Detroit Tigers

There’s plenty to like about Castellanos, the top prospect in Detroit’s organization. His bat is very quick through the zone, and there’s never been much of a question among scouts about the quality of his hit tool. His power stroke is showing signs of life, as he has increased his home run total in each of his three full minor-league seasons; he hit seven homers in A-ball in 2011, 11 across three levels in 2012 and 18 in Triple-A last year. Another big positive for Castellanos is the improvement in his contact rate. He struck out in 23.1% of his plate appearances in 2011, followed by 20.2% in 2012 and 16.8% last year. Though he will not be a top 10 3B in 2014 he will not hurt your peripherals if you miss out on a top tier player at the hot corner.

Cleveland Indians

Danny Salazar throws one of the game’s hardest fastballs, as a starter. He knows it and he loves it, and for him, the heater is a swing-and-miss pitch. He uses it to work up in the zone, and the fastball accounted for half of Salazar’s strikeouts in his career. The other stuff is pretty good, but the fastball is special. He did start 10 games in 13 for the tribe but is still an unknown commodity come draft day. I have  participated in a couple of mock drafts so far this year with some true fantasy baseball junkies and was able to get him in round 13 and 14…remember that come draft day.  A true 2nd SP stud.

Chicago White Sox

I have to admit I have not seen much video on Jose Dariel Abreu but I do trust the brain trust for the White Sox and the other 10 teams that tried to land him. With the emergence of Cespedes and Puig you have to think this kid is as well is very special. What we do know is he will have 1B and OF eligibility and be hitting in the 3 hole. I will be targeting him in all drafts. He recently went in the 10th round of my most recent mock. If he is still available at round 10 he is a steal!