Sunday, 22 May 2011

Two Start Pitchers May 22-29

Last week's story:

Start 1
Start 2
Jordan Zimmermann +3% owned
Vs Baltimore: 6.1 IP 2 ER, 5 K
Homer Bailey +15% owned
CHC: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 4K
@CLE: 7.0 IP, 2 ER, 4K
Scott Baker -1% owned
@SEA: 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 8K
@ARI: 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 7K
Ivan Nova +1% owned
@TAM: 5.1 IP, 1 ER, 4K
NYM: 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 2K
Tim Stauffer (no change % owned)
@ARI: 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6K
SEA: 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 3K

Admittedly, it is difficult to find studs that are less than 50% owned. Fortunately, things went relatively smoothly with last week's pitchers, with none giving up more than 3 runs. That said, the numbers don’t tell the whole story...
Stauffer gave up 10 hits Sunday against the offensively depleted Mariners, while Ivan Nova allowed 11 hits against the Mets; both pitchers minimized damage by allowing three runs. Many will say such damage control represents good and timely pitching… with these pitchers, I assure you it is not. Walking the fine line of 10+ hit games will inevitably result in some type of implosion and perhaps even a Gatorade cooler meltdown. Stauffer and Nova are droppable in most leagues.
On the plus side, Zimmermann and Bailey were dominant in their starts and deserve a permanent spot in most mixed-leagues.

Top 5 two start pitchers owned in less than 50% of leagues:

Left: Norris, Right: Gorzelanny

Bud Norris (49% owned in Yahoo leagues): LAD (Kershaw), ARI (Saunders)
Contrary to popular belief, Bud is not related to Chuck, but perhaps it would be appropriate to give the young Houston Astro Chuck's former title of the 'Texas Ranger'. Norris has overpowering stuff and loves to rack up Ks. Already with 64 on the year (through 55 IP), Norris has proven his ability to mow opponents down. With two starts at home against the Dodgers and Arizona, look for a decent ERA and strong K numbers from the youngster with great upside. 

Tom Gorzelanny: (13% owned in Yahoo leagues): @MIL (Gallardo), SD (Moseley)
Gorzelanny, for the second consecutive year, is proving that he likes pitching well in the first half of the season. The 28-year-old has found some job stability in Washington and seems to be thriving in his new environment following a move away from the windy city. Gorzo is worth a look in shallow to 3 meter-diving-board depth leagues.

Carl Pavano (25% owned in Yahoo leagues): SEA (Vargas), LAA (Haren) 
Carl Pavano is another pitcher that loves to go streaking. He and Scott Baker are the co-presidents of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde book fanclub. They have proven time and time again that their ability to shine is tremendously inconsistent. That said, I like Pavano's matchups this week and he is worth starting in deep yahoo leagues (although he remains available in most).

 Left: Duffy, Right: Pavano

Stab in the dark: 
Danny Duffy (1%): @BAL (Britton), @TEX (Ogando) 
Jonathan Niese (9%): @CHC (Dempster), PHI (Blanton/Replacement) 

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Late Bloomers

 Baseball is a sport of tremendous patience. Time and time again, the sport has proven that success on the field demands arduous commitment. Both a good eye at the plate, and pinpoint pitch location requires thorough development. It is very rare that such talents are naturally endowed in players. Occasionally a Ken Griffey Jr. or an Alex Rodriguez will come along and stand as outliers to this trend, but generally players need time to mature. 

So is it any surprise then that Jose Bautista, at the age of 30, is currently on pace to set the highest OPS (on-base plus slugging) of all-time? Nearly at the ¼ mark of the season, Bautista’s 1.388 OPS has legitimized the late-blooming Dominican a season after skeptics downplayed his .995 OPS and 54 homers. 

Things just seem to keep getting better for Bautista... Last year, a refined swing brought power to Jose; this year, he has found plate discipline. His 35:19 bb to k ratio is a remarkable improvement from last season’s 100:116, helping raise his batting average. If his success ever came as a surprise, it's time to start believing. If fantasy season were to start today, it's conceivable to see Bautista flying 1st off the board.

Bautista epitomizes the success of patience and commitment. He was never a Griffey-type prodigy; his tremendous work ethic has solidified him as one of the best power hitters in baseball. His attitude rubs off on his team; just watch a Jays game and you’ll catch the veteran giving slugging tips to Escobar or Rajai Davis (as seen on today’s Jays Sportsnet telecast). Bautista has become a leader, and the prototypical symbol of the late bloomer.

***After all this praise, it must be said that his OPS is unsustainable, expect a regression.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Two Start Pitchers May 16-22

Top 5 pitchers who might still be around in your league (owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! leagues):

1. Jordan Zimmermann: PIT (Morton), @BAL (Britton)
Zimmermann, owned in 48% of Yahoo leagues is coming off three strong starts. Most recently, Zimmermann is coming off an 11 strikeout gem against the Braves. His other previous starts against the moonshot Marlins (led by future home run king Mike Stanton), and the San Francisco Giants, showed glimpses of the once hyped youngster who was meant to sit at the right hand of Strasburg. Zimmermann's favourable starts against Pittsburgh and Baltimore make him a very viable option in mixed-league formats.

2. Homer Bailey: CHC (Garza), @CLE (Carrasco)
Bailey, owned in 34% of Yahoo leagues has been utterly dominant in his first two starts this season. Mind you both starts were against Houston... so be wary. By season's end, Homer's ERA won't likely be anywhere near its current 0.69, but his early season success is certainly a sign of the tremendous potential of the young 26 year-old. Look for him to put up respectable numbers this week against offensively deprived Chicago and potentially Grady-less Cleveland. The Cincinnati Reds have a potent offense and will help the youngster accumulate wins.

3. Scott Baker: @SEA (Vargas), @ARI (Hudson) 
Scott Baker, 33% owned in Yahoo leagues, has given us very few reasons to trust him since breaking into the majors in 2005. Baker can dazzle with tremendous control of his curve and changeup, only to instantly implode. He is the supernova of the fantasy universe (or is that Ivan Nova?). Despite having little faith in Baker, I must admit if there were any week to start him, this would be it. Going into Seattle and Arizona just might mean two consistent starts. But who knows.

4. Ivan Nova: @TB (Shields), NYM (Niese)
Ivan Nova, the ground-ball specialist is currently owned in 8% of leagues. Nova, like Baker, lacks consistency. At just 24, the big Dominican is still working through growing pains. Nova has favorable match-ups against the Rays and the Mets. Nova won't get many K's, but every time he takes the mound he has a good shot at winning. Expect Nova to be owned in more than just 8% of leagues by week's end.
 5. Tim Stauffer: @ARI (Hudson), SEA (Vargas)
Stauffer, like Nova, is a ground-ball specialist. When his curve is going (especially at home in the roomy confines of PETCO), Stauffer has potential to sit down batter after batter. With eligibility as a relief pitcher, and owned in just 39% of leagues, Stauffer is worth a good look this week in many mixed leagues. 

Judge accordingly.

Welcome to the Fantasy Treadmill

Welcome to the Fantasy treadmill (copyright pending)

I have decided to call my blog the fantasy treadmill for two reasons: firstly, because of the inherent irony term, given that fantasy does its very best to suppress physical exercise; and secondly, because I never actually find myself making forward progress… the pain and reward of fantasy is a carrot and stick type deal that often makes me feel like an ass. 

The objective of this blog is to provide insight into the world of fantasy. As you know, the internet is seriously deprived of fantasy writers and bloggers so I've decided to play my part and offer what limited advice I can give. We are all in it together and whatever advice and information that can be acquired to dampen the harsh realities of our alternate fantasy universe should undoubtedly be welcomed,