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“Precision Tayloring” Arms Dealers: Pitchers to Target in the Trade or Waiver Market

“There is something good in all seeming failures. You are not to see that now. Time will reveal it. Be patient.” Sivananda
 

You did it! You made it through month 1 of the fantasy season in (relatively) good condition, and are sitting somewhere on the plus side in the win to loss column. Those of you currently in the bottom half of the standings for your fantasy leagues, however, shouldn’t try to worry too much. For 1 month doesn’t destroy your fantasy season, unless of course it is the playoff month, but there is still plenty of time left in the fantasy and real life seasons for your teams to turn it around. Like your fantasy teams, there have been some lackluster pitching performances turned in by pitchers whom big things were expected of this year. What we see in the fantasy community all the time is a wide sweeping and fast overreaction to these early performances in the season, turned in by pitchers when their fantasy numbers look a little skewed, due to limited sample size. This leads to players, pitchers especially, to be underrated in terms of value from that point moving forward. That leads to all kinds of sweet deals in the trade and waiver wire markets in leagues, and is what can help a team make the last to first turnaround come playoff time. Here are some pitchers that have clearance sale price tags on them right now, and who are worth stashing if they can be had on the discount or if they are available in your league.

1. David Price

david-price 2013 Stats: 1-3/ 6.25 ERA/ 1.48 WHIP/ 40K-12BB

The WTF stat: Price’s HR/FB rate is currently at a bloated 20.5%; his career norm is 9.7%

Outlook: A lot has been made about the apparent fastball velocity drop this season from the Rays ace, but the more concerning thing for me is the sudden lack of vertical break on his curve. Throughout his career, Price has had an average of 5.29 inches of vertical drop on his curveball, and has been a definite out-pitch for him ever since he scrapped the slider and started throwing a cutter starting back in 2011. In 2013, the average drop on the 109 curveballs that he has thrown has been 2.45 inches. The 2.84 inch difference may not seem like much (that’s what she said), but in baseball, especially with a dangerous hitter at the plate, it is enough to completely blow all of your plans to shit. Through the first month, him not having a feel for his curve has caused him to leave more mistake fastballs over the plate in hitters counts and the hitters have been able to just sit back on it because they aren’t having to worry about the normally dangerous breaking stuff from Price. These problems can be corrected once Price rights the timing in his mechanics, and I’m willing to bet that he will be back to his former self sooner rather than later, as he faces Toronto twice and the Red Sox with 2 of the 3 starts coming in the pitcher friendly confines of the Trop. If you can buy Price for any discount at all from his owner then do so now, because he is bound to turn it around.

2. Jonathon Niese

jonathon-niese 2013 Stats: 2-3/ 4.66 ERA/ 1.66 WHIP/ 20K-19BB

The WTF stat: Despite all the issues with the walks, Niese is posting a career best GB% at 54.8%.

Outlook: For a pitcher whose main strategy is to pitch to contact, Niese sure has walked a lot of batters so far this year. He is really struggling at putting hitters away with 2 strikes, especially when he is ahead of the count. Hitters are able to work his pitch count up early in games and see a lot of pitches, because they know that for some reason he isn’t throwing strikes when he is up 0-2 or 1-2 on hitters this year. This leads to harder contact when those batters come back around the 2nd or 3rd time in the order, which is a concern when you don’t necessarily have the most talented bullpen in the world to hand the ball to. The struggles with finding the strike zone can almost always be traced back to mistiming in Niese’s delivery, some of which the Mets broadcast announcers blame the bad weather for. I think they are reaching a little there, but Niese has better pure stuff when everything is going right than the numbers indicate, and he has even been dropped in a number of leagues. Matchup play in standard 10 team leagues, but in NL-only and any deeper mixed leagues he is someone to buy low on in hopes that he turns it around here in May.

3. Wei-Yin Chen

Wei-Yin Chen 2013 Stats: 2-3/ 3.50 ERA/ 1.19 WHIP/ 22K-12BB

The WTF Stat: Batters have an OBP of .365 when batting with no one on. That goes down to just .220 when men are on base.

Outlook: The poor man’s Hiroki Kuroda gets about as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield, even after the 192.2 Innings he pitched as a rookie last year. Chen will work deep enough into games to keep his team in the game with a primarily 3 pitch mix of fastball/slider/change-up. He has a nice, easy delivery from the left side, and is athletic enough to be an average fielder at the position. Currently owned in just 21.1% of ESPN leagues, Chen is a good bet to pitch 200 average to above average innings in the major leagues. He can also be a valuable asset to your fantasy rotation, keeping your ERA and WHIP down, while adding a bit of a boost in terms of strikeouts 18.8% K% during his rookie season. He is a good bet to also pick up a handful of wins, as the O’s offense is near the top in the AL in terms of run production.

Quick Hits
  1. Jarrod Parker (1-5/ 7.34 ERA/ 1.98 WHIP): More mechanical timing issues; command has gone to hell; as bad as the numbers are gonna look. Should be picked up with the “nowhere to go but up” mentality. Spot start and watch for more consistent release points on his pitches.
  2. Bud Norris (3-3/ 3.89 ERA/ 1.54 WHIP): May not get many wins pitching for the Astros, but is probably going to be one of the first on the way out if they trade a starter. He will put up strikeout numbers, and knows how to generate weak contact. Use against all but the best offenses.
  3. Jose Quintana (2-0/ 3.86 ERA/ 1.26 WHIP): Good control pitcher, just 9 walks in 32.2IP, doesn’t hurt himself, and does a good job of staying in games. Figures to be in the Sox rotation all year.
  4. Ross Detwiler (1-3/ 2.50 ERA/ 1.39 WHIP): Lack of respect due to lack of strikeouts, still pitches quality innings, chance for wins if he starts getting run support, good back-end support for your rotation, and should be a start every time out of the gate.
  5. Kevin Slowey (1-2/ 1.81 ERA/ o.94 WHIP): Ride the hot hand. Easily the best starter for the Marlins this season, he has kicked up his strikeout rate a little. He’s putting up great numbers yet isn’t owned in as many leagues as he should be.

Follow me on twitter! @roormatt09

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. victorysportsgroup

    May 11, 2013 at 10:30 am

    not sure how half those dudes are people to own…is it any coincidence that you own half those dudes?

  2. Corey D Roberts

    May 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I think you need to actually read the piece there bud. Also, doesnt him owning these players add credibility to his assessments! A smart man says yes.

  3. Matt Taylor

    May 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    Well if you are playing in a special kid 10 team mixed league with 9 other Autists then obviously you are just going to stream guys like Cahill, Masterson, corbin, etc. because no one in your league is competent or pays attention. This obviously isnt for them then. This is for those who are in deeper leagues or who have a shit ton of pitchers on the DL, or both. And the team that I own 3 of these pitchers in is currently in 5th out of 16th soooo yea, maybe I am doing something right.

    • victorysportsgroup

      May 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      Hahahahahhah I’m in your leave in 3rd so don’t talk down to me. Niese is awesome huh? What a joke.

  4. victorysportsgroup

    May 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Corey, I did read the article. Not impressed. A smart man says no to niese that’s for sure.

    • Corey D Roberts

      May 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      Ok I hate the anonymous name there. If you play in league 3 then enlighten us to your name. If you say you are in third that means you are that team Minor League Turn Major who has been 1 of the 2 lucky teams so far. The teams in 3rd and 4th have allowed the 1st and 2nd fewest points in the league and have also played each other so I would not let your balls hang out just yet. Also, my earlier statement was referring to him owning players he is touting or giving advice on. If he did not own any of them or want to own them in some form or fashion that would be pretty hypocritical. I am not a fan of Niese, but to each their own. In our type of league with the amount of depth we have he should be owned or at least used to spot start. I also would say to you that Matt is as thorough as it gets in backing up his assertions with numbers & analysis. All I saw from you was empty rhetoric.

  5. victorysportsgroup

    May 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    My name is Trenton Redington, not trying to be anonymous. Empty rhetoric would be Matt stating that he is doing so well with these pitchers in a 16 team league inferring that I am in “diaper wearing” leagues. Unfortunately for him, I am in his league ahead of him in the standings, yet he is bragging about his standiings. Second off all, just because he owns three of the pitchers mentioned does not mean that it is a good thing. I do respect all of the information given and I was simply making a general statement. A reply doesn’t need to have a multitude of rhetoric because I am not writing a blog piece. In reality, I was completely correct. Did you see Niese today? I own Quintana in my $1600 dollar league. He is terribly inconsistent and plays against great bats such as Kc and Det on a regular basis, Cleveland is no chump change either. Also, David Price is the reigning Cy Young Winner, of course he should be owned. Didn’t want it to escalate to a paragraph like this but apparently opinions are not respected on this blog. Why have a comment section if you do not want people to say what they beleive?

  6. Corey D Roberts

    May 11, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Trent, an opinion is always welcome. So if someone states an opinion and we do not agree then we should not defend our position? That is what a debate is. The comment section is for like minded individuals to agree or disagree to engage in debate, however if we do not agree then why should we not express it. When you put one line zingers like your first comment it will invoke a response in this forum. If you want to crush his piece then attack it from a statistical or fundamental point of view with a series of “whys”. Obviously you do not agree with him, and I have my own views on those players as well. The reason I came back at you is because you attacked his integrity (because he owns these guys, etc.) instead of his knowledge of the game, so he responded in kind. I like reading his stuff and I do not agree with him a good amount of the time. The difference is his stuff is informative, he builds a case, and expresses a conclusion. His writing is superb. I encourage everyone to comment here whether positive or negative, but do not think that the authors are relegated to silence.

  7. victorysportsgroup

    May 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I was wanting there to be some debate after my comments. In fact, I have enjoyed this very much. However, Matt decided to try and compete in the thread by comparing his league to my “projected league” when in fact I am in his league. THAT deserves ridicule. Of couse I am not so self-centered that I am the only one that can be correct. I didn’t bring in statistics because I was not trying to degrade his points just pointing out a little bias was involved.

  8. Matt Taylor

    May 11, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    HAHAHAHA you mean you are the owner of the same team I FUCKING DESTROYED IN WEEK 1. 364.5-208.4. Don’t try and act all high and mighty on the internet, no one cares. I watched niese’s start today, wasn’t following through on anything especially the off-speed pitches. That’s something that can be corrected and fixed and the numbers can look better in as little as 1 start, when niese is on he is worth owning, might as well be the first 1 to jump on the train that is gonna right itself. As for the Price issue clearly he is owned in any league, i specifically mention if you can get him 80 or 90 cents on the dollar do it. You can have your own opinion but save your shit talking for when you actually beat me. Other than that enjoy having a shitty second half of the season.

  9. victorysportsgroup

    May 11, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Just because you watched him start and can tell what he is doing wrong doesn’t mean that it was not terrible. Please don’t tell me you are a one week queer?! The first week of the season means nothing towards a teams outlook for the rest of the season, Players are still getting aclimated to competitive baseball. It was simply a question of bias that I brought up with your post because I felt that some other pitchers were better qualified. It does not seem as if you take criticism very well, but enjoy lookng up at me in the standings.

  10. Matt Taylor

    May 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    If we extrapolated it over the entire season you would have only beat me in 2 weeks, last week and week 4. So if your ass was playing me every week you would be 2-4 so you can take that for what it’s worth. Only reason your team is 5-1 is because you beat up on some pretty shitty teams, and teams that don’t do shit against you whenever you play them. At the end of the year you will go back to being the bottom bitch you are. GOOD DAY.

  11. victorysportsgroup

    May 14, 2013 at 9:49 am

    You are the one looking foolish as you basically have stated that I can’t compete in a league with you and am in second place overall and I know you are not first. Also, I rarely use all of my waiver adds because I am winning the whole time. You play the matchup not the league and it has led to a 5-1 record. Maybe you should do the same. Enjoy writing terrible articles and looking up at me in the standings.

  12. Corey D Roberts

    May 14, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Will you guys cut it out. For crying out loud you have both got your points across. It is getting ridiculous now.

  13. Corey D Roberts

    May 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Not to get the pot stirred again, but Trent you were ridiculing Matt for his advice and ironically enough I am playing you this week and guess who is on your pitching roster! Its none other than Jonathon Niese! LOL Wow is all I can say.

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