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A. L. East

The Mad Prof’s Week 3 Analysis of the East.

tarmacThe Eastern Divisions of Major League baseball are looking pretty much as folks predicted in Spring Training.  Washington is dominant in the NL East.  Philadelphia is now playing like a team that is rebuilding and has nothing to lose.  In the AL East, a close battle continues among several strong, but flawed teams.  Baltimore is no longer undefeated and played .500 ball last week. The pundits are accurate.  So far, the gods are pleased…


Dominant Pitchers

The East boasts 6 of the top 10 SP in terms of strikeouts.  In the AL, the usual suspects appear.  In the NL, the Phillies have clearly shown up for work.  These rankings are boosted, of course, by Velasquez’s 16 K outing against the lowly Padres.  Nonetheless, the dominance of Philly SP is something to ride as long as you can.  These stats are through Saturday’s games:

Price 27 Velasquez 25
Archer 23 Nola 23
Sale 23 Bumgarner 21
Hernandez 20 Syndegaard 21
Odorizzi 20 Arrieta 20

Word is still not out on Philly.  Velasquez is owned in 82% of Yahoo! Leagues.  But, Nola is owned in only 63.   Who is not paying attention?  There is value here.  Critics might sniff at Nola’s current status.  Sure, he has a K:BB ratio of 23:9.  But, his ERA is 5.68.  OK.  Fine.  Here is another line:  Mr. Archer of Tampa Bay rings in at 23:8 and 5.87.  Ks are Ks. Acquire young Philly SP with confidence…for now.

Team Overviews

I will generally favor pitching when it comes to measuring team performance.  Good pitching does beat good hitting.  It’s much more reasonable to expect a good SP to go out and pitch well on his day than it is for 9 batters to gel every day. That’s not to discount great lineups.  Nonetheless, the tale of the tape in both divisions still follows the pitching staffs.


Pitching Batting
Baltimore 11 1 3.84 [93:30] 8 45 .710 .894 5.45
Boston 10 4 4.81 1[04:35] 6 48 .733 .792 5.3
Toronto 12 7 3.63 [92:32] 5 46 .678 .662 3.92
NYY 10 2 4.45 [96:25] 4 47 .753 .744 4.5
TB 11 3 3.34 1[01:23] 4 40 .683 .613 2.82
Washington 10 8 1.98 [79:30] 9 21 .582 .765 4.9
Philadelphia 12 6 4.05 1[18:32] 5 50 .633 .619 2.58
NYM 10 6 3.58 [90:26] 4 37 .691 .645 3.1
Miami 9 3 4.44 [78:34] 3 41 .725 .771 4.22
Atlanta 11 4 5.44 [90:46] 2 58 .782 .577 3.27


I’ll look to refine team summary numbers as we work through the season.  I added two key batting numbers for comparison.   Some food for thought heading into week 3:

  • Baltimore’s performance is unsustainable. One QS in 11 games simply puts too much pressure on the lineup and the bullpen.  Good SP will stop this train in its tracks.
  • Philadelphia and Tampa Bay are displaying equally unsustainable patterns. You can’t count on young pitchers striking out 10+ batters a game and provide them with less than 3 runs of support all season.
  • Right now, the Nationals are a well-oiled, balanced machine. Kinda awesome, really.


Some news, notes and observations from around the two divisions

Boston sent Blake Swihart down to the minors because he can’t hit.  Christian Vasquez replaced him.  Vasquez is not known for his hitting either…

The Phillies’ SP are for real.  They are young and the core of a rebuilding project.  Bid and hold with confidence.  But, watch for IP limits later in the year.  They won’t help with W.  But they are good potential sources of QS and K.

The Mets are off to a middling start.  They will get no less middling if Jacob deGrom goes on the DL with an injury to his right lat. He went home because of issues with his newborn.  Have good thoughts.  Meanwhile, in terms of your roster, keep a DL slot open.

Joe Ross (WAS) is still owned in only 70% of Yahoo! Leagues. His line is 2W 10 K 2QS 0.61 ERA.  Not a bad bottom of your rotation guy.

Schoop, JonathanJonathan Schoop (BAL) had a great week.  Two HR and 5 RBI in the last week.  He offers legit 20+ HR power at 2B.  He’s owned in only 34% of Yahoo! Leagues.




The importance of Number Two.

200px-No_2_APTSWSMSanchez AMore than a few pundits have commented that the key to success for either Boston or Toronto is the establishment of a solid rotation.  Right now, Toronto is far ahead of Boston in this regard.  Aaron Sanchez held Boston to 1 run on Sunday.  That gives him a 20:7 K:BB ratio, an era of 1.35 and three QS.  He threw 33 innings in 2014 and 92 last year.  So he will be on an innings limit.  But, for the start of 2016, he is looking like a quality starter and the back end of a solid one-two punch in Toronto.

Notable Pitching matchups this week

AP WORLD SERIES METS BASEBALL S BBN USA NYThe Mets spend the week in the NL East.  They play at Philadelphia (Syndergaard, Verrett and Colon v. Eickhoff, Velasquez and Hellickson). Syndergaard and Eickhoff will be a quality matchup of young stars.  Verrett pitched well in a spot start for deGrom last week against the Marlins (7 IP, 7 K, 1.29 ERA).  We will most likely miss the Velasquez-deGrom showdown.  But if Verrett can deliver again, this series still offers quality matchups in all three games

The Mets then head to Atlanta (Harvey and Matz v. Norris and Chacin).  No marquee matchups here.   The anemic Braves lineup should be cannon fodder for the Mets arms. Syndergaard is slated to finish the series against Atlanta.   He could strikeout 40.  Play your Mets starters this week.

Jose Fernandez (WAS and @SFO) and Stephen Strasburg (@MIA and v. MIN) are also two start pitchers this week.  Sadly, it looks like these two will miss each other in their series.  A great PPV opportunity missed.

Drew Smyly and the Rays draw 2 AL East opponents: @BOS and @NYY.  At Boston, he will draw Joe Kelly (another two start possibility v. TB and @HOU).  This will be a good test match to watch.   Can Smyly handle the Boston lineup?  Can Kelly take advantage of Tampa’s anemic offense?

mooretanakaIn the weekend series we have Ramirez and Moore against Sabathia and Tanaka.  Ramirez-Sabathia is clearly the undercard here. Again, the Tampa Bay lineup will be challenged by the Yanks;’ SP.  Moore and Tanaka pose an intriguing matchup on Saturday.  Tanaka should dominate.  But, Moore remains cursed with unlimited potential.  Moore is getting stronger with each start and now boasts a 21:3 K:BB ratio.  Tanaka compares with a 16:5 split.

Toronto (Stroman, Dickey and Estrada) is at Baltimore (Jimenez, Tillman and Worley).  No marquee pitching matchups here.  There is great potential for NFL-caliber scoring, though.  This will be a test of both pitching staffs against solid batting orders.  There is no clear favorite here.  Even if the starters get knocked out, Stroman and Osuna compare favorably with O’Day and Britton.

The Tampa Bay (Smyly, Archer, Odorizzi) –Boston (Kelly, Porcello and Price) series offers us the Price-Odorizzi contest.  Alas, we miss the Price-Archer showdown by a day.  This will be a great test of the Boston lineup.  Tampa Bay’s anemic offense gives Boston’s SP a chance to breathe.  But can the Sox find consistent hitting against the solid young arms of TB?


Final Thoughts

By the end of next week, we will be 10% of the way (about 16 games) into the 2016 schedule.  Players will start to find their grooves and weekly stats will become more meaningful.  Right now, the Eastern divisions are dynamic, if not in disarray.  Only Washington is playing consistently well.

Using the SRS measure (Simple Rating System= Run Differential + Strength of Schedule), we see that the Eastern Divisions are pretty average.  No one measure is ever ideal.   But, as a quick and dirty look at the two divisions after a dozen games, it is remarkably accurate.  With the exception of the Mets (below expectations and the Phillies (above expectations), the AL and NL East are abiding by their preseason predictions… so far.  Stay tuned.


Baltimore 0.9 Washington 2.0
Boston 0.9 Philadelphia -2.0
Toronto 0.1 NYM -1.4
NYY -0.5 Miami -0.2
TB -0.6 Atlanta -0.6


(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday April 17th, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Every week we will do a quick recap of Fr-Sat games, and a forecast of Monday through Thursday’s games.

Our guests this week are Marc Foster and Zak Sauer. Marc has been an owner in MLFS leagues 8+ years, a 3-time champion, and former writer with MLFS. He will be a frequent guest this year on our baseball shows. Zak is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, the co-host of Major League Fantasy Football weekly, and the co-host of “Sports Talk” with Lou Landers every Monday.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show” 


(Click the RED link to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday April 21st, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #10 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. We will discuss player positions and help prepare you for the coming draft season. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Our Thursday night show will do some weekly recaps, player updates, and preview the coming week end games.

Our guests this week are Lenny Melnick and Joe Iannone. Lenny Melnick is a fantasy baseball legend and a pioneer in the business. He is credited with starting the very first fantasy baseball show in 1993 along with Irwin Zwilling and Sandy Stolle. He also has a website which you can find at lennymelnickfantasysports.com where you can find all his work, and it is a great overall free community. Joe is a veteran writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, a tenured fantasy baseball expert, and a big part of our community.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show” 

Unrepentant Red Sox fan and all things Boston. Deflategate was a joke. Boston Latin School is awesome. Harvard and Johns Hopkins alma maters... Besides that... Stanley D. and Nikki Waxberg Professor of Politics and Law at Washington and Lee University. Wrote for Ron Shandler's Shandler Park for two summers and have been on board with MLFS since 2011. Been at Washington and Lee since 1990 with a brief hiatus (2010-2013) in the Middle East. Currently developing that last word in Fantasy Baseball analysis. Married to Flor, Dad to William and Alex, and adopted daughter Reem. Soon to be father and law to Meaghann. Alpha male to the world's super-pup, Humphrey. Life is not bad.

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