June 2012

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RotoAuthority Live Chat

Click below to read a transcript of this week's live chat with Steve Adams.



Stock Watch: Buy & Sell Analysis

Last week's Stock Watch recommended picking up Derek Norris for his power potential as a second catcher, and Norris has lived up to the hype in his first week with Oakland by hitting .316 with a home run and five RBIs.  

Buy

  • Andrew Cashner - After dominating Double-A while getting his arm stretched out with a 1.88 ERA and a 23/3 K/BB in 14 1/3 innings over three starts, Cashner had a solid first start in the Padres rotation Thursday night by striking out nine batters in 6 1/3 innings while allowing only three baserunners. In a home park that makes Clayton Richard a viable mixed-league option, Cashner could have significant value for the rest of the season if he can keep a strong strikeout rate while pitching out of the rotation.
  • Ben Revere - Off fantasy radars after starting the season slow and getting sent to the minors, Revere is back in a big way with 11 steals and a .337 batting average in June.  This season, Revere is hitting more ground balls than in any previous year, and he has the highest ground ball-to-fly ball percentage of his career. Hitting out of the second spot in the Twins lineup, Revere should continue to have the green light to steal bases and should be targeted by owners looking for cheap speed.
  • Ike Davis - Finally creeping past the Mendoza Line (and then dropping back below following yesterday's 0-for-4) after being slowed in Spring Training and perhaps the regular season with Valley Fever, Davis is heating up with five home runs and 20 RBIs in June. His season numbers are still poor enough that he can be acquired on the cheap. However, Davis' low .236 BABIP despite a career-high line drive percentage is a sign that things should turn around the remainder of the season.
  • Tyler Moore - After hitting two home runs on June 13, Moore was quiet until going into Coors Field this week and hitting home runs in back to back games with five RBIs on the series. Moore is now up to a .339 batting average on the season and could be a nice waiver wire claim if he runs with the left field job in Washington.  He has earned a shot at regular playing time after clubbing 31 home runs in both 2010 and 2011 while working his way up the Nationals' minor league system. 

Sell

  • Trevor Bauer - Despite posting excellent strikeout numbers and a low ERA in the minors this season, Bauer's 4.6 walks per nine innings mark is a red flag for his chances of enjoying immediate success in the Majors.  Bauer continued his wild ways by walking three batters in his four-inning debut. While Bauer's future is certainly bright, the 21-year old makes for an excellent sell candidate in re-draft leagues to an owner that is buying the rookie hype.  
  • Wade Miley - The second Arizona starter on the sell list, Miley's incredible season numbers are buoyed by a HR/FB percentage of 4.8% and BABIP of .255.  Both of these numbers are significantly better than last season and when they even out Miley's rest of season ERA should approximate the 4.45 projected by ZiPS.  Although Miley's 1.79 walks per nine innings is impressive, beware that he had not approached this mark in a season throughout his major and minor league career.
  • Tony Campana - While Anthony's Rizzo is the toast of Wrigleyville, his arrival has certainly not done Campana owners any favors as the Cubs have shifted David DeJesus to centerfield and taken away Campana's path to playing time.
  • Bobby Parnell - With excellent numbers across the board on the season, Parnell has received a lot of hype while taking over the closer role for the injured Frank Francisco.  However, the Mets stuck with Francisco throughout his struggles earlier in the season and it is doubtful they would make Francisco a setup man after signing him to a two-year $12 million deal in the offseason. Sell high to an owner that believes Parnell may hold the closer job the rest of the season.


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Diamondbacks Finally Free Trevor Bauer

Before the season started, fantasy owners were counting down the days until Mike Trout and Bryce Harper joined the Angels and Nationals, respectively. Matt Moore of the Rays was a hot target on draft day and the Mariners' Jesus Montero was a sleeper at the catcher position even though he didn't have catcher eligibility yet. The fifth megaprospect everyone was waiting on was Trevor Bauer, the eclectic right-hander taken third overall last summer by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Having drawn Tim Lincecum comparisons because of a unique delivery (here's video) and workout/conditioning routine, Bauer was the Next Big Thing after those other four Next Big Things.

Ranked as the ninth best prospect in baseball by Baseball America coming into the season, the Diamondbacks sent Bauer to Double-A Mobile when they broke camp. He struck out 60 batters and allowed just nine earned runs in 48 1/3 innings across eight starts before Arizona decided hey, we have to promote this guy. Bumped up to Triple-A Reno, Bauer went on to whiff 56 batters while allowing 14 earned runs in 44 2/3 innings across eight starts. In 16 minor league games this season, he owns a 2.23 ERA and an 11.2 K/9, or better put he's struck out 29.4% of the batters he's faced. The league average is somewhere around 19.0-19.5%, just for perspective. Bauer leads the minors in wins (11) and strikeouts (116) as of right now.

Unfortunately -- I'm not sure for who, really -- he won't get a chance to pad those totals. Arizona is calling Bauer up to make his big league debut against the Braves in Atlanta tonight, replacing the injured Joe Saunders. It sounds like Saunders will be back sooner rather than later, but Daniel Hudson's torn UCL means Bauer is in the rotation to stay. His stuff is excellent and his arsenal includes a mid-90s fastball and a "plus-plus curveball" to go with a solid slider, changeup, and splitter according to Baseball America (subs. req'd). Dan Syzmborski's ZiPS system pegs the Bauer as a 4.18 ERA pitcher at the moment, albeit one with a fantastic strikeout rate (9.2 K/9). In a subscriber-only piece at Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Goldstein says the right-hander from UCLA is "among the best fantasy rookie pickups from here going forward," and I think that goes without saying.

As for the drawbacks, Bauer is known to be pitch inefficient, give out walks, and surrender some homers. He's averaged 101 pitches per six innings according to Goldstein, walked 60 batters in 118 2/3 minor league innings (4.6 BB/9 and 11.7% of batters faced), and given up eight homers during that time. That last number isn't scary, but Bauer has admitted to preferring fly balls to ground balls -- fly balls are more likely to turn into outs -- and not being afraid of the long ball on Twitter (@BauerOutage). Since he'll be playing his home games at the hitter friendly Chase Field, expect Bauer to serve up a few dingers. Given his propensity to walk people, more than a few of them will be multi-run shots as well.

Despite that, I still believe Bauer can outperform that 4.18 ERA projection and settle in as a 3.50-ish guy with a strikeout rate near one batter per nine innings, although his WHIP figures to be a little high given his walk issue. That puts his performance in line with guys like Jonathon Niese and Yu Darvish, though his ability to rack up wins will not be the same given the different teams these guys play on. Following his outing against the Braves tonight, Bauer lines up to make starts against the Padres and the Matt Kemp/Andre Ethier-less Dodgers (both games at home in Chase Field) before the All-Star break. Needless to say, fantasy owners should be salivating. He's a long-term fantasy star that figures to be among the highest drafted pitchers in the coming years, but for 2012 and he's a very good rotation option that might hit some bumps along the way.



Injury Watch: The Returns Of Salvador Perez and Stephen Drew

Today's Injury Watch will focus on a few players with low ceilings, but high floors. These recovering players can definitely help your squad in a few small ways, just don't expect them to go bananas and kickstart your frantasy squad.

Salvador Perez, Royals

Royals fans were awfully happy to see Salvador Perez return from his knee injury earlier than expected this week. Fresh off a nice little six-year contract extension and a promising rookie season, Sal promptly busted his meniscus in his left knee and required surgery and physical therapy to repair the damage. But now, as of June 22, the Royals catcher of the present-and-future is back. Perez has only seen action in three games (as of the writing of this article), but he's already shown promising returns by garnering four hits in 12 PA and belting a homer.

What does Sal Perez mean for your fantasy team? Well, he's worth a provisional add in almost every league -- so long as you know what you're getting. If you're playing traditional 5x5, expect him to help you in batting average...aaaaannd that's about it. In the Royals lineup (where he usually hits either seventh or eighth) he's not going to kick out big R and RBI numbers. And you better believe he's not stealing any bases with the surgically-repaired wheel. Given that Perez hasn't yet grown into any substantive power (3 HR last year in 158 PA), you're basically paying for batting average. But that's ok, because lots of catchers are pretty terrible, and your team's batting average probably isn't as good as you want it to be.

Perez looks best as a backup backstop, seeing use as a hedge against a Mike Napoli or Jesus Montero type of catcher who brings power and RBI, but can hurt your BA. And if you're still running Josh Thole or Ramon Hernandez or someone else who you thought would be good, but really isn't, out there, then pick up Perez on the wire and plug him in. He's unlikely to burn you.

Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks

I'm tempted to use a find-replace function to swap "Stephen Drew" with "The Perennially Disappointing Stephen Drew". Despite being one of my favorite non-Metropolitan players (we share the same alma mater), Drew has consistently burned me when I draft him for a fantasy squad. This year, of course, was no different. I drafted him thinking that he'd be out maybe a month at most to kick off the 2012 season as he recovered from a really, really rough ankle injury in the middle of the 2012 season. Instead, it took him about three months to get ready. Set to make his debut on or around June 27, it's time for him to get back in the game, and to replace the black hole (read: Willie Bloomquist) that the Diamondbacks have at shortstop.

Drew's had one very good season (2010), but hasn't ever consistently delivered on his potential with the bat. Even his best season was more of a great "real life" season than a fantasy season...Drew only managed 15 HR and 10 SB, to go with respectable R and BA totals. At shortstop, these are pretty good numbers, but they probably reflect the high-end of what you should expect from Drew, and that's over a full season! My expectations of Drew are realistic, but a bit on the optimistic side. I have a feeling that Drew will hit for power, and his ballpark in Arizona should help him out there. Eight or ten homers isn't impossible for Drew, and I figure that pretty soon, he'll hit in a spot in the lineup that will give him the ability to steal a few (maybe four or five) bases, and be driven in by AZ's bigger boppers.

All in all, I'm not dropping Jed Lowrie or Derek Jeter for Drew, but he'll land firmly in the tier where players like Yunel Escobar and Ruben Tejada make their time, and he's got more homer potential than most SS options. You may want to be patient with this one, and see how he starts before giving him an add.

Quick Hits: Because the Blue Jays needed more bad luck with their rotation, Henderson Alvarez underwent an MRI in his injured right elbow, and is currently day to day. You can tell things are getting desperate because they went out and signed Jamie Moyer. ... The Phillies are phinally ready to bring Chase Utley back to the majors. Chase says his knees feel better than they have in years, which is great - but I still think you have to be cautious in your expectations for both performance and playing time with him. It may get a little dusty for Philadelphia fans when he finally knocks one out of the park next week, though. ... Frank Francisco is out as closer for the Mets thanks to an oblique strain. Dan's got the in-depth info here, and I wouldn't expect the chicken-caller back until mid-to-late July. ... Matt Joyce is dealing with an oblique strain and was placed on the DL on June 20, but fortunately for the Rays, Luke Scott should be back in action on Wednesday. That should ease a little of the sting, provided Scott hits like he's supposed to. ... Nolan Reimold had season-ending surgery on June 25. In case you were wondering, that sound you heard was a thousand fantasy players who had pinned their sleeper tag on him slapping themselves on their foreheads. ... Yonder Alonso has been out of the lineup since the 23rd for the Padres. I'd give you more info, but no one in their right mind puts a Padre hitter on their fantasy team anyways. (Just kidding! I love you, Chase Headley!) ... The Rockies now aren't expecting Troy Tulowitzki back from his groin injury until August. And if that's not a depressing way to end this Injury Watch, I dunno what is.


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Closer Updates: Mets, Twins, Reds

If you can't wait to strike out those chickens, be sure to follow @closernews on Twitter.

Mets
The fantasy vultures were circling the Mets' bullpen earlier this season, when Frank Francisco was struggling mightily. Francisco settled down a bit since then, but the fantasy opportunists have now gotten their revenge with Double-F being placed on the 15-day DL due to an oblique strain.

Unlike Mets bullpen shakeups of past, manager Terry Collins left little room for doubt or debate this time, swiftly naming Bobby Parnell as Francisco's fill-in. After a few seasons of ups and downs since breaking into the bigs 2008, Parnell finally seems to have put it all together this year, maintaining strong strikeout, walk and groundball rates: 9.0 K/9, 2.32 BB/9, and 54.7% GB. Mix those tasty ingredients together in a SIERA salad, and you're left with a 2.66 mark (compared to a 3.19 ERA). That'll play.

If he's on your wire, don't hesitate to snatch Parnell (owned in 25% of Yahoo! leagues), even if you're not especially in need of saves. He's certainly capable of racking up a handful of saves for your team, but you could also try to flip him to a saves-needy owner in your league with the promise that this is more than a 10-day or two-week cameo. Francisco, remember, is dealing with an oblique strain, which often sideline afflicted players beyond the 15-day minimum stay on the DL. The Yankees' David Robertson, for example, missed more than a month with the same injury.

It's probably too soon to say whether Parnell could hold onto the job when Francisco returns, but my instinct is that he'd have to pitch exceptionally well to do that. So, for now, assume the gig is Parnell's for about a month. There's plenty of value in that.

Twins
Gosh, there's a lot to say about this situation, and without a lot of "effort," this could quickly devolve into an expletive-laden diatribe. But, I'll play nice.

First, the unequivocal: Matt Capps has been placed on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation. I wish I had a better grip on how long he might be out, but I'm pretty sure it's a case-by-case situation with an injury like this. Sergio Santos, for one, has been out since April due to shoulder inflammation, but that seems to be one extreme on the spectrum. So, stash Capps on your DL if you own him, although nothing's promised in terms of when he comes back or whether he closes if/when he does come back, as far as I'm concerned.

Now, as for his fill-in(s). I touted Glen Perkins here last week, and sure enough he picked up the Twins' first two saves in Capps' stead. But then Ron Gardenhire got all fancy on us, calling on Jared Burton for the next two saves in what was a matchups-based decision. The strategy makes perfect sense in real life but does little for us fantasy types. Ugh, there's nothing worse than a closer platoon.

The deal is that, yes, both Perkins and Burton should be owned. Reading the tea leaves, I don't think one will see the majority of save opps, unless perhaps one suffers through an ill-timed and pronounced slump. So, for owners who are in good standing in saves, I see no harm in grabbing only one or neither of these fellows and instead using the roster space for something else. But for those in need in saves, one -- or both -- of these guys can help you.

Frustrating, yes. But chasing saves is a dirty business. 

Reds
What the heck has happened to Aroldis Chapman? The left-hander kicked down the door to grab closing duties for the Reds, but he's struggled mightily of late, allowing runs in five of his past seven outings -- with reports surfacing of a minor back ailment, to boot.

Chapman is obviously in incredible talent; you don't need me to tell you that. But I do wonder about whether he's cut out to hold onto closing duties for the balance of the season, mostly because he seems awfully tricky to handle in terms of usage. In particular, both he and the Reds seem averse to pitching him on three consecutive days, which is not so much a problem in terms of lost save opportunities as what it might suggest about his durability.

I own deposed closer Sean Marshall in my primary league, although admittedly that's more because the league counts holds than because I suspect a shakeup is imminent. However, I am definitely concerned about Chapman right now, and I would be sure to handcuff Marshall to him if I owned Chapman in a standard league. Marshall, for what it's worth, has rounded back into form after his early-season struggles.

Quickly
The Blue Jays transferred Santos to the 60-day DL in what was mostly a procedural move. Santos has resumed playing catch, although it seems like Toronto is moving the right-hander along slowly. I'd be surprised if he were back before late July, and even then I'm not sure he gets his job back from Casey Janssen. ... Drew Storen is progressing nicely in his return from elbow surgery, but Nationals manager Davey Johnson said D-Sto will return as a setup man. That's not a surprising decision considering how well Tyler Clippard has pitched, although Storen owners will want to hold him as long as possible. ... A's closer Ryan Cook suffered his first meltdown over the weekend but rebounded nicely his next time out. He wasn't going to pitch to a sub-1.00 ERA all season but should have plenty of leash as Oakland's closer considering his upside and the underwhelming alternatives. ... The Diamondbacks bought out a couple arbitration years for setup man David Hernandez, perhaps an indication that they plan on using him as their closer once J.J. Putz moves on. That could be as soon as next season, for those of you in keeper leagues, although the club holds a $6.5MM option on Putz for 2013.


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Silver League Update: Can I PLEASE Get A Home Run?

Like most of these articles, it starts with me trying to solve a problem on my team. I was scanning the waiver wire for home run hitters and I was excited to see Raul Ibanez (28% owned) and his 10 longballs there waiting for me. I could platoon him with Juan Pierre, and together they'd be an unstoppable power-speed force; it would be like finding Andrew McCutchen on the waiver wire! Then, sensibly, I checked on his last month's performance and saw that he'd hit just one homer and hit under .200. That explains that.

Of course, Anthony Rizzo (14% owned), has been picked up. After headlining Tom Warman's Stock Watch and hitting 23 homers in Triple-A, I'd say that ownership is going up. Bryan LaHair's hot start was never enough to keep Rizzo down, but it should be enough to keep him in the Cubs' lineup in the outfield.

If you can't get Rizzo, consider Wil Myers (4%). He's leading the minors with 24 homers and ought to be joining Kansas City's outfield sooner or later. As an added bonus, he's catcher eligible in Yahoo! leagues. Expect his ownership to jump as soon as an announcement is made, so roster him now if you've got space. That's what someone in the Silver League did. 

When I couldn't get these guys, I decided to check back in on a former player of mine: Cody Ross (29%) owned. An injury replacement until his own injury, his nine homers would put him near the top of my free agent list, and that's with missing a month. Ross is back from injury and hitting the ball well. He's been a quality player before, despite a down year in San Francisco, so you might as well grab him and hope his hot streak turns into a decent season. 

Pedro Alvarez (23%) and his streaky ways have bounced from one team to the next in the Silver League. He'd been on mine before and I wasn't torn up to see he was unavailable. If you can pair him with someone who knows how to hit for average (maybe I should've platooned him with Pierre) you can roster him without getting killed. Maybe. His cold streaks are Antarctic. Justin Smoak (18%) is looking pretty similar, but the .220 average is even worse out of a first baseman.

Wilin Rosario (17%) has 11 homers and plays catcher. Seriously, is your catcher actually better than that? Probably not. Rosario has been hot lately and plays in Colorado. While I'm waiting on that Jesus Montero guy, you should do the smart thing and grab Rosario, even if you only play him at home. If Rosario isn't available, Martin Maldonado (4%) might be. He's only filling in for Jonathan Lucroy, but he's hit as many homers in the last month as Rosario.

Luke Scott (17%) is scheduled to come off the DL right around the time this article comes out. His average is down with Alvarez and Smoak, but he's got a longer track record of being decent than either of those players. He's got a higher likelihood of being useful than most of the players I've mentioned, but, buyer beware: most of his nine homers came early in the season. 

Brandon Moss (26%) is coming off a torrid last month...for someone unowned in three quarters of leagues, anyway. Seven homers and a .265 isn't Henry Aaron territory, but it looks pretty good next to everything else. He's too old to be a prospect, so temper your expectations, but the A's need the homers as badly as I do. Needless to say, he's already owned in the Silver League. If you want to take a really big stab in the dark, try Justin Maxwell (1%), who's hit six homers this month for Houston. Like Moss, he's too old to be a prospect, but who else are the Astros going to play?

Colorado's Chris Nelson (1%) is probably available in your league, and his 2B/3B eligibility and home park just add to his value. Humidor or not, his power doesn't have to be real for him to put up usable numbers. Too bad this isn't the mid 90s, or we'd have another Vinny Castilla on our hands. Another multi-position player to (sort of) consider is Ty Wigginton (15%) owned. It's a bit of a back-handed compliment to say that he was once Baltimore's All-Star representative, but he does have some power. With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley still on the shelf, expect to continue seeing Wiggy's bat in the lineup for awhile. Fellow Philly John Mayberry (9%) also has five homers in the last month.

At this point, we're starting to deal with some pretty rough options. I'm still thinking about rostering Ibanez--terrible month and all--but the most appealing of these choices are all picked clean in the Silver League and even they come with serious imperfections. Technically speaking, there's power to be had on the waiver wire, but not much. If you're in need of power, the best thing to do looks like trading for it, then looking for whatever you gave up (try to make it steals!) on the waiver wire. The real moral, though, is for next year: you can never have too much power.

 


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This Week In Streaming Strategy, June 25-July 1

Who should sit, who should start, who should get picked up and who should be ignored?  No, it's not a column about speed dating etiquette, it's this week's fantasy streaming tips.

* Omar Infante.  Those who took Infante as an "geez, I waited too long to get a second baseman, I'm stuck with this guy" pick in the late rounds of your fantasy draft were going cartwheels when Infante hit .340/.369/.567 over his first 38 games of the season.  If you managed to sell high on Infante then, congratulations, as Infante has regressed back to his journeyman status, with just a .547 OPS in 23 games since.  The right-handed hitting Infante has pretty even splits in his career (.711 OPS against lefties, .718 OPS against righties) but the moral of that story is simply that Infante is not a great play no matter who's on the mound, so the fact that the Marlins will see right-handed starters in at least four of six games this week is only a minor point.  Now would be the time to start exploring the waiver wire or the trade market for different second base options, or to just sit Infante if you have a better second baseman on your bench.

* Tom Milone.  I picked Milone up in one of my leagues last week and wasn't disappointed, as the A's southpaw delivered a complete game three-hitter with just one earned run allowed on Wednesday against the Dodgers.  My reason for streaming Milone?  He was pitching at home.  Milone has a stunning 0.99 ERA in six starts at the O.co Coliseum this season, while on the road, he's unplayable --- a 7.42 ERA in eight away starts.  Milone is set for two road outings this week (one in Seattle, which is tempting, but the other is in Texas) so given his track record outside of Oakland, stay away from Mayday when looking at two-start pitchers this week.  By the way, surely we've given Milone the "Mayday" nickname by now, right?  Can we get Ted Danson to an A's game so he can officially transfer the nickname in a pregame ceremony?

* Felix Doubront.  You'd think a Red Sox pitcher having a better-than-expected season would have a pretty full fantasy bandwagon by now, but Doubront is still relatively unheralded; he's owned in just 50% of Yahoo fantasy leagues.  Doubront is racking up strikeouts (85 K's in 79 1/3 innings, good for a 9.6 K/9 rate and a 3.04 K/BB ratio) and his 4.35 ERA is a bit misleading, as his peripherals (3.32 SIERA, 3.89 FIP, 3.48 xFIP) show that he's been a bit unlucky.  Doubront is a bit of a flyball pitcher, which may explain why he has a 5.59 ERA in seven starts at Fenway Park this season, but his home start on Monday is against the Blue Jays, who he has already pitched well against in two starts this season.  While Doubront's first start of the week has a bit of caution surrounding it, his second start of the week is at Safeco Field against the Mariners, so all systems should be go for that one.  Unfortunately, the schedule won't align for a Battle Of The Felixes between Doubront and Hernandez --- too bad, as Junior Felix was waiting by the phone for the call to toss the first pitch.

* Gregor Blanco.  With just three hits and two walks over his last 30 PAs, the left-handed hitting Blanco could break out of his slump this week when the Giants are scheduled to face right-handed starters in five of six games.  Blanco took over the everyday right field job from Nate Schierholtz earlier this season and even after his slump still has a decent .254/.348/.396 line with 12 steals in 15 opportunities.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend Blanco as a long-term fantasy investment given that a long enough slump could get Schierholtz back in the mix, but for this coming week, Blanco could be a good source for steals, hits and runs.

* Quintin Berry.  After seven minor league seasons, the 27-year-old rookie finally debuted in the Majors and has exceeded expectations, hitting .305/.383/.389 in 108 plate appearances for the Tigers and going a perfect 10-for-1o in steals.  There's a chance that Berry could stick around in left field given that Andy Dirks doesn't appear to be making great progress in his DL stint, Don Kelly is struggling and Delmon Young seems best-suited as a designated hitter.  That opens the door for Berry, who at the very least looks to be Detroit's first option against right-handed pitching for the time being.  The Tigers are slated to face righties in at least five of their seven games this week, so all aboard the Berry Ferry before it inevitably (Berry's BABIP is .446) runs aground.

* Pedro Alvarez.  Don't look now, but we may be in the midst of another Alvarez power surge.  Alvarez got everyone's hopes up when he hit five homers and posted a 1.236 OPS in a 12-game stretch between April 21 and May 4, but then went stone-cold again over his next 20 games, OPS'ing just .428.  Last weekend, however, Alvarez hit four home runs in two games against the Indians and entered Saturday's play with a whopping 2.046 OPS over his last 24 plate appearances.  I'm not going to get my hopes up that Alvarez has permanently turned a corner here, especially since I threw almost every Pirates batter under the bus less than a month ago.  Still, with the Bucs facing right-handed starters in at least five of their seven games this week, the stage is set for Alvarez to keep hitting.  Pick him up now, drop him as soon as he cools off and check in again when Alvarez has his next hot stretch in, oh, let's say August.  


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RotoAuthority Live Chat

Click below to read a transcript of this week's live chat with Steve Adams.



Stock Watch: Buy & Sell Analysis

Last week's Stock Watch recommended buying Ryan Cook while there were rumblings of a closer committee in Oakland. In the past week, Cook did not give up a run in four appearances with two saves and a win. The window to buy low has most likely closed.

Buy

  • Anthony Rizzo - Per Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs can promote Rizzo tomorrow while still delaying his free agency from 2017 to 2018. Expect the Cubs to do so in the near future as Rizzo has nothing left to prove in AAA, as he hits .360 with 23 home runs and 59 RBIs in 261 plate appearances. In shallow leagues where Rizzo is available on the waiver wire pick him up immediately. In other leagues, see if the owner stashing Rizzo has a need you can fill and get Rizzo before he is activated and the hype makes him unattainable. Rizzo should enjoy immediate success having learned some tough lessons in San Diego last year, and stepping into a Wrigley Field that plays like a hitter's paradise with the wind blowing out in the hot summer air.
  • Jason Heyward - Quietly adding more of a running game this season with 10 steals (8 of which came in April), Heyward has been hot in June, hitting .351. Riding a modest seven-game hitting streak and with two home runs on Wednesday, Heyward has the ability to go on a tear and carry a fantasy team.  It is encouraging for Heyward's future success that his groundball rate is well down from last year while his line drive percentage is up, and for the first time in his career he is putting the ball in the air more than on the ground. 
  • Miguel Montero - Finally coming out of a season-long funk, now is the time to buy Montero while his season stats still look poor.  In June, Montero has hit .302 with five home runs and 17 RBIs.  This is consistent with Montero's career in which April and May have been his worst hitting months. In the RotoAuthority League, I had a decision last week whether to deal Montero or MLB home run leader among catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia - I decided to move Salty.
  • Derek NorrisSalvador Perez - Staying with the catcher position, Norris and Perez are worth picking up in two-catcher mixed leagues of 12 or more teams.  Norris was called up to split the catching duties in Oakland but could run with the job given the struggles of Kurt Suzuki.  Norris was enjoying success in Triple-A with 8 home runs and 36 RBIs in 236 plate appearances.  Perez's debut this year was delayed by injury but remember he hit .331 with three HRs, 21 RBIs and 20 runs in only 158 plate appearances for Kansas City last season.
  • Dillon Gee - Here's an unheralded starter whose 4.27 ERA does not reflect the skills he has displayed this season.  Gee has boosted his strikeout rate from 6.39 per nine innings in 2011 to 8.24 this year, while reducing his walks by 1.5 over the same nine innings.  This has resulted in a 3.22 SIERA despite a .292 BABIP that is well above his .270 mark from last year.  Gee is also inducing more groundballs this season, and his ERA should creep down when his 17.1% home run per fly ball percentage evens out to a number closer to the 11.1% mark he posted in 2011.
  • Alex Cobb - Another under the radar starter that should be picked up where available on waivers. Cobb's true talent is shown more in his 3.11 SIERA and 3.24 FIP than his 3.82 ERA. Cobb has posted huge strikeout numbers in the minor leagues which gives hope that he can bump his 7.65 strikeouts per nine innings mark.

Sell

  • Ryan Zimmerman - The Washington $100 million man has been nothing short of a total bust for fantasy owners this season.  Zimmerman is displaying no power as his ISO is an unsightly .090, and his home run per fly ball percentage is less than half his career rate.  Zimmerman's swinging strike percentage is higher than it has ever been in any full year of his career, and his contrate rate is lower than it has ever been in any full season of his career.  To make matters worse, Zimmerman's plate discipline has regressed as he is posting his worst BB/K rate since 2008.  This seems to be a lost season for Zimmerman that will be explained next Spring as the result of a nagging shoulder injury that required the off-season to heal.  Sell Zimmerman to other owners that view him as a "buy-low" opportunity.
  • Carlos Marmol - Fresh off being labeled as a buy in this column when he was available on waiver wires as recently as last week, now that Marmol has the closer job back savvy owners will be looking to deal him to save-starved owners that were left without a chair in the year of the closer carousel. Marmol is a WHIP-nightmare while walking 10.53 (!) batters per nine innings this season, and the Cubs will be begging teams to take him off their hands where he might end up pitching the seventh or eighth innings on a contending team.


Full Story |  Comments (0) | Categories: Stock Watch

Finally Healthy, Kalish Back In Boston

Carl Crawford (elbow) and Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) have been two of fantasy baseball's top outfield producers over the last few seasons, but the duo has played just seven total games -- all by Ellsbury -- for the Red Sox this year. Boston has been forced to use a dozen different outfielders to cover for their injuries so far, but it wasn't until this week that they were finally able to call on their top internal option: Ryan Kalish.

Kalish, 24, missed most of last season and the start of this season with a pair of surgeries: one for a bulging disc in his neck, the other for a torn labrum in his left (throwing) shoulder. He raked in 15 minor league games after coming off the DL -- .345/.449/.655 with five homers -- and has three singles in 12 plate appearances since being recalled three days ago. Kalish has started each of the last three games in center field and the plan is to keep running him out there over the next few weeks.

This isn't Kalish's first time in the show. He played 53 games for the 2010 Red Sox and hit a respectable .252/.305/.405 with four homers and ten steals (in eleven chances) in 179 plate appearances. The power-speed combination was his calling card all throughout the minors and is part of the reason why Baseball America considered him one of the game's top 100 prospects prior to the 2008 season. Kalish has 93 steals (in 113 chances) and 45 homers in just over 400 career minor league games, though a broken hamate bone in his wrist sapped his over-the-fence power for a few years earlier in his career.

Ellsbury took batting practice the other day for the first time since getting hurt and Carl Crawford recently started a throwing program, so those two are on the mend. Their returns are not imminent though, so Kalish's job is safe for the time being. I wouldn't expect a ton of homers just because they're hard to hit, even in Fenway Park, but Kalish has real sleeper potential in the other four traditional 5x5 scoring categories. He should hit for a solid average but even if he slumps into the .250-range, there will still be stolen bases, runs scored, and runs driven in to count on. Those last two categories are a gimme given the lineup around him. I'm a fan and although Kalish technically isn't a prospect, he's a young player with upside and a lot to offer fantasy owners.




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