Fantasy Baseball Rankings, News and Sleepers

Stock Up and Down: J.P. Arencibia and Josh Beckett

RotoAce continues its in-season feature where we single out one player whose stock is either on the rise or decline in fantasy baseball. This feature will provide expert fantasy baseball analysis to help you negotiate trades or feel safe in dropping a player to pick up someone else.

arrowaSTOCK UP
A look at a player whose stock is on the rise and you need to acquire immediately through trade or waivers.
arrowaSTOCK DOWN
A look at a player whose stock is on the decline and you need to try to trade or maybe drop to pick up someone else.
J.P. Arencibia, Rangers Josh Beckett, Dodgers
Two home runs and seven RBIs will always get you on the potential list for this spot. But what’s really interesting is that the Rangers plan to use him at first base.

Yes, they are desperate. Yes, he has serious contact issues. But a player with massive power  and catcher eligibility getting ABs at first base for the Rangers in the summer in that ballpark?

If/when he has a hot streak, it could be a very nice one. And don’t you want to be the one who has him sitting on your bench ready to plug in?

Part of his problem could be catching games anyway. He’s got a .415 OPS in 20 games behind the plate and a .956 OPS in nine games at first base. So maybe the Rangers’ desperation is a blessing in disguise?

There’s only so much longer the Dodgers are going to go with a pitcher trying to pitch through a hip injury at age 35 in a pennant race.

Do you want to be left holding the bag? Trade Beckett right now while his numbers still look great. Two straight poor outings raised his ERA up to 2.74 and you can trade a pitcher much easier when his ERA has a 2 in from of it.

Of course there’s risk that he’s able to pitch through it and goes on having a great season, but if you can get someone to trade you a comparable pitcher, I’d go for it now.

Keep in mind, also, that Beckett is already pitching ahead of his xFIP (3.75) so there may be more bad outings down the stretch anyway, even without counting the injury.

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Stodk Up and Down: Jake Odorizzi and Clay Buchholz

RotoAce continues its in-season feature where we single out one player whose stock is either on the rise or decline in fantasy baseball. This feature will provide expert fantasy baseball analysis to help you negotiate trades or feel safe in dropping a player to pick up someone else.

arrowaSTOCK UP
A look at a player whose stock is on the rise and you need to acquire immediately through trade or waivers.
arrowaSTOCK DOWN
A look at a player whose stock is on the decline and you need to try to trade or maybe drop to pick up someone else.
Jake Odorizzi, Rays Clay Buchholz, Red Sox
Odorizzi has now allowed three runs or fewer in his last nine starts and has lowered his ERA from 5.31 to 3.80 in that span.

And he’s legit in every way, with his 3.56 xFIP, 10.2 K/9 and .307 BABIP telling you he’s not just getting lucky. He’s not changed anything about his velocity or the types of pitches he throws except for one thing: He’s throwing more change-ups and fewer sliders.

Here’s the best part. His ERA is still high enough that you may be able to get him slightly discounted and possibly watch the good starts keep coming.

A pitcher headed in the opposite direction is Buchholz, who has allowed 15 earned runs in his past three starts. He was battered by the Blue Jays for seven runs Monday to raise his ERA to an unsightly 5.87, which is a far cry from his 1.74 last season.

The good news is that his ERA sits at a more respectable 4.37, so there should be a good stretch in him at some point. The bad news, you’ll be dropping him soon and someone else may get to enjoy it.

He’s another pitcher with few differences in his arsenal from last year except one thing: He’s throwing fewer fastballs and more cutters. Clearly that’s not working and hopefully someone is telling him that.

Still, you could roll the dice, buy pretty low on him and potentially reap the rewards when/if he figures things out.

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Stock Up and Down: Chase Headley and J.D. Martinez

RotoAce continues its in-season feature where we single out one player whose stock is either on the rise or decline in fantasy baseball. This feature will provide expert fantasy baseball analysis to help you negotiate trades or feel safe in dropping a player to pick up someone else.

arrowaSTOCK UP
A look at a player whose stock is on the rise and you need to acquire immediately through trade or waivers.
arrowaSTOCK DOWN
A look at a player whose stock is on the decline and you need to try to trade or maybe drop to pick up someone else.
Chase Headley, Yankees J.D. Martinez, Tigers
So do you think Headley is enjoying playing outside of Petco Park?

Since the trade to the Yankees, Headley is hitting .348 (8-for-23) with a home run, a walk-off hit, a three-hit game and a general feeling of being cut loose from a hitting prison. Like most Padres hitters, Petco has killed his overall production (.245/.331./.375 at home compared with .286/.360/.444 away from home).

If that weren’t enough to make you go trade for him immediately, keep this in mind as well: Headley’s hottest career months are August and September (.817 and .807 career OPS including games at Petco).

Martinez is just 3-for-26 in his past seven games played, and he’s missed two games with a quad injury as well.

This cold stretch is the first prolonged slump he’s really had, and to give you an idea of just how great he’s been, he’s STILL rocking a .912 OPS this month after a 1.048 in June.

The biggest worry with him is his .371 BABIP, which he won’t sustain all season, and his low 5.5% walk rate. So is this the beginning of a big correction? If you can get someone to pay for what he’s done so far, you might want to consider it. With the low walk rate, he may have a hard time breaking out of a prolonged slump.

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Top Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

Streamer of Day: Yankees’ Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy

Brandon McCarthy

We’ve got two streamers to recommend for Saturday starts:

1. Brandon McCarthy vs. Indians: The veteran righty has turned it on since coming to the Yankees, going 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA with a 28-6 K-BB in 30.1 IP over five starts. We’ve been touting all season how McCarthy’s ERA had to converge with his xFIP and boy has it ever. McCarthy had a 2.90 xFIP but a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts with the Diamondbacks. Then with the Yankees the xFIP is very similar at 2.84, but the 2.08 ERA is more what we had in mind. The change of scenery has brought his season ERA down to 4.37, but it appears there is still plenty of regression to be had to the 2.89 season xFIP. So we’ll be riding McCarthy out likely for the rest of the season, or for streaming purposes at least until his ownership rises above 50 percent in Yahoo leagues (still just 28 percent at the time of this writing). Add him in all leagues, use him here and definitely hang on.

2. Jake Odorizzi at Cubs: The Rays rookie’s hot streak came to an abrupt end in his last start with a thrashing at the Angels. Odorizzi was so good in the two months before that that we’re giving him a pass. Speaking of xFIPs, Odorizzi’s 3.70 mark is better than his 4.09 ERA, so there should be some lowering of that coming soon. His 5.73 ERA on the road, poor last start and going into Wrigley to face Javier Baez and the Cubs is a lot to worry about, so just use him in deeper leagues.

Yesterday’s streamers:
Roenis Elias, 5.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, W
Collin McHugh, 7 IP, 5 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K

Season’s streamers: 3.85 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 134 W (in 369 starts), 1736 K (7.3 K/9), 616 BB (2.6 BB/9), 2130.1 IP, 2089 H, 912 ER

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Breakouts: Top 20 High-Ceiling Targets

Kole Calhoun

Kole Calhoun

If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re hoping to win your fantasy baseball league this year.

Whether it’s for bragging rights, money or both, you’re looking for the edge that will land your team in first place by season’s end.

Besides getting the most value out of every pick in your draft and working the waiver wire diligently all season, the thing that distinguishes winning fantasy teams is having as many breakout performances as possible.

The winning teams of last year most often had at least some from the group of Chris Davis, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson, Jean Segura, Starling Marte, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey, Kenley Jansen and Koji Uehara. I had Donaldson, Iwakuma, Harvey and Uehara on my winning team.

These players were drafted in the late rounds if at all then went on to dominant fantasy seasons. Let’s call them breakouts.

Here is a list of my favorite breakout possibilities for this season, guys who I am targeting for their very high ceilings:

Yasmani Grandal, Padres, catcher

Two of my favorite skills to look for are power and patience, and Grandal has both. The 25-year-old has a career walk rate of 16.7% to go with nine career homers in 334  plate appearances. The skill set has the upside to hit .280 with a .380 OBP and 18 homers, yet the questions about his surgically-repaired knee and PED suspension have depressed his draft stock to the point where he’s a tremendous value.

Yan Gomes, Indians, catcher

The 26-year-old Brazilian surprised last year with a .294 average and 11 homers in 293 at-bats, yet his lack of a track record has him being drafted outside of the top 12 catchers. The Indians have moved Carlos Santana mostly off catcher to first, third and DH to clear playing time for Gomes, who could turn in a .300 average with 20 homers and become a top-five backstop. (more…)

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