“Sauer Notes” Central Divisions Week 6 Forecaster
- White Sox 23-10
- Indians 15-14
- Royals 15-16
- Tigers 14-17
- Twins 8-23
Well being one of three active players to have multiple extra-inning grand slams is about the only positive list you can find Todd Frazier on for this season. Fun fact, the last two grand slams to come after the 12th inning came from the Toddfather, and he is the last player since 1900 to have two of them. He leads the White Sox with 10 home-runs and 27 RBI, but even with with his last four plate appearances being a hit, it still only brought his average up to .215 on the season. Chicago’s pitching has been stupendous thus far as they await the arrival of some of their bats. Avisail Garcia has been getting hot recently as he has gone 9-for-18, or .500 (if some of you need a little math assistance), over the past week, while scoring seven times in that span. Often overshadowed by the dominance of Chris Sale (7-0, 1.79 ERA, 0.77 WHIP), is counterpart Jose Quintana who over the last week has had two starts which he won with a sparkling 1.20 ERA and a 10:1 K:BB ratio over 15 innings. On the season Quintana now sits at 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 42 strikeouts over 45.2 innings. This team will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the season based on just their pitching staff alone. If some of their bats show up (cough cough, Abreu .242, Frazier .215) they will be dangerous come playoff time.
Corey Kluber continues his Jekyll and Hyde like season illustrated by his two last week. On May 4th, Kluber fanned seven Tigers on his way to a complete home game shut-out. On May 9th he surrendered five earned runs with three walks and three strikeouts and was pulled after 2.2 innings at Houston. With Carlos Carrasco’s DL stint the Indians need all of their pitchers to step up, and nobody asserted dominance more than Danny Salazar. In a tough matchup against division rival Kansas City Royals, Salazar pitched a gem going 7.2 innings scattering four hits and striking out nine. That’s an impressive performance against a Royals team that rank fourth best in terms of striking out. To make a playoff push, Cleveland needs more from their hitters as Fransisco Lindor (.313) is their only prominent player hitting over .300. The next best hitters with at least 75 at-bats are Rajai Davis (.256) and Jason Kipnis (.254). The return of Michael Brantley (.231) will surely help this lineup. Over the past week started to return to form going 7-for-22 (.318) with six RBI, two walks, and just two strikeouts. Yan Gomes (.170) and Carlos Santana (.225) continue to struggle mightily at the plate. TheTribe really need these two to get going if they want to have a chance at making any noise come September.
Raise your hand if you thought the Royals would be one game under .500 at this point in the season. Any takers? A team that prides itself on contact and efficiency has only one player with at least 75 at-bats hitting over .300 in Eric Hosmer (.336). Omar Infante and Mike Moustakas follow at a mere .258 clip. Lorenzo Cain continues to underwhelm as he is slashing a disappointing .256/.310/.316 while striking out a whopping 33 times over 117 plate appearances. Even worse, Alex Gordon is hitting .233/.347/.350 with 38 strikeouts in 103) AB. Morales hit 22 dingers with 106 RBI and a solid .290/.362/.485 slash line, in a 2015 career year. In 2016 he sports a .198/.240/.319 line with three home-runs and 12 RBI. The pitching staff has fared even worse. Ian Kennedy has been the only bright spot in their starting pitching rotation as he sits at a 4-2 record with a 2.13 ERA. The next best starting pitcher has been the ever-so-volatile Edinson Volquez who is 3-3 with a 3.89 ERA. Here are their final three pitchers ERA at a glance: Ventura (4.65), Young (6.68), Medlen (6.85). They’ll need at least two of them to make vast improvements or else this team will not be relevant come playoff time. At this point, the indicators offer little hope for the defending champs.
Those who picked up Jarrod Saltalamacchia when he was hot have been rewarded with a recent 1-for-11 streak with five strikeouts. The return of James McCann, who began the year as the Tigers starting catcher, has diminished any value that Salty brought to the table. On the other hand, Nick Castellanos who was already raking .380 prior to this week, has really turned it up over the last seven days going 11-for-25 with two home runs and eight RBI while slashing a ridiculous .440/.481/.72o. If for some odd reason he is floating around on the waiver wire, or you play in a shallow league and he is available PICK HIM UP. While these numbers are not sustainable, there is reason to believe he presents significant upside. Castellanos is only 23 and in his third season as a major-leaguer–that’s when players really start to figure things out at the plate. Only four players improved their plate discipline more than Castellanos over the second half of last year. For most of his career, Castellanos has been a free-swinger, reaching at pitches around 10-20% worse than league average. In the second half, he was league average and he swung less overall. He made more contact which illustrates some progress. The scouting reports on Castellanos on the way up praised his hitting while saying his plate discipline needs work. So this could be an important change for Nick. It may be hard to see that skill, with a hitter who’s striking out a quarter of the time while showing league average power. But Castellanos’ balls in play have been hits 32.4% of the time, good for top-30 in that stat. His hard-hit rate is above average which is a solid indication of progress as well. All in all this does not mean you should go out and trade the farm for Castellanos; nevertheless, if you own him, be pleased.
Was it little too late to bring up top pitching prospect Jose Berrios? Maybe. But his owners are happy for now. Over 14.1 innings and 3 games, Berrios he has struck out 19 batters. But he has also been very hittable. He has surrendered 17 hits (4 HR), walked eight and given up 10 earned runs and a .302 batting average. For a team that missed the postseason by one game last year, they are surely underachieving. Over 115 plate appearances Miguel Sano has struck out a whopping 45 times, good for third worst in the league helping sink his batting average to .226 on the season. Brian Dozier is struggling mightily with a putrid .230 average. The only fantasy commodity Minnesota has produced so far has been Eduardo Nunez. His average will surely come down from the robust .370 he sits on at the moment. He has produced six doubles, 13 runs, 1o RBI, and five steals in just 81 at-bats. If you need help in the stolen base category you can look to Nunez as that will surely be one category he’ll produce all season. Furthermore, you can also add teammate Danny Santana who leads the team with six stolen bases if Nunez is not available.
- Cubs 24-6
- Pirates 17-15
- Cardinals 16-16
- Reds 14-19
- Brewers 13-19
The Cubs’ last loss somehow came against the Atlanta Braves. Amidst the young talent driving the team, veteran Ben Zobrist has come on strong, batting a stout .500 with 4 HR and 14 RBI, 9 runs scored and no Ks. Playing in the glare of Rizzo and Bryant, Javier Baez is telling people “remember me”. After missing much of the beginning of the season with a thumb injury, Baez has has slashed a solid .321/.345/.509 line in 53 AB with two homers and two SB. Meanwhile Jake Arrieta had a mortal moment giving up two earned runs in his last start. Something must be wrong here. All joking aside, his ERA on the year is still an incredible 1.13, with a WHIP of 0.88 while holding opposing hitters to a .159 average. There are rumors floating around that the Cubs could be looking to add Ryan Braun before the trade deadline. Even if this happens , it won’t make much difference since their farm system is fully stocked.
Over the past week Clint Hurdle decided to move Gregory Polanco frm the 6-8 spot to the three-hole. This should have boosted his fantasy value as he would get more opportunities that could lead to more production. Unfortunately, over the last week he has struggled, going 4-for-19 with 6 Ks and slashing a minuscule .211/.318/.368. His outfield counterparts have been en fuego (on fire, you monolingual smucks) as Starling Marte and Andrew McCutchen have been raking from the plate over the past week. Marte has arguably been their best offensive fantasy asset over the last two seasons. His counting stats were very similar to Cutch’s 2015 numbers while adding 20 more steals. In 2016, Marte has been their best hitter slashing a phenomenal .341/.388/.512 with a team-leading nine stolen bases. Jung Ho Kang
has made a nice impact since rejoining the Buccos with two homers over his first 12 plate appearances. Gerrit Cole is coming off one of his best starts of the season against the Cardinals where he went six strong innings giving up two earned runs, while striking out seven and earning the victory. The Pirates will have a weekend series against division leading Chicago Cubs, and will have a tough time making up some ground as they are slated to face off against Hammel, Arrieta, and Lester…good luck.
The legend of Aledmys Diaz is still alive and kicking. Over the last week Diaz has gone 8-for-19 while slashing .421/.450/.632 and further justifying his case to see everyday at-bats once Jhonny Peralta returns from injury. We know Peralta was their starting shortstop and has produced well offensively in the past. So it looks like Diaz could move over to second base upon Peralta’s return and essentially take at-bats away from the struggling Kolten Wong (.206) and Jedd Gyorko (.211). Diaz is competing for the batting title. His current .394 batting average trails only Daniel Murphy of the Nationals who is hitting .398. Stephen Piscotty who is tied with Matt Carpenter for the team-leading 21 RBI, has put together a terrific start to the season slashing a formidable .318/.376/.527 with 10 doubles and five home runs. The Cards starting pitching staff had massive struggles early as Mike Leake (5.10) and Adam Wainwright (6.30) have ERA that are cringeworthy . Michael Wacha has been decent at best despite his 3.12 ERA. Opposing hitters have squared up on him too easily resulting in 41 hits over 43.1 innings. Carlos Martinez has given owners solid production. The nice surprise has been Jaime Garcia (2-2, 3.05 ERA, 40 K in 38.1 innings). He has shown this ability in the past, but is always a threat to hit the DL and is a sure-fire bet to not start 30 games.
Well it only took one week for the team to have a new leader in saves, and that is Tony Cingrani who has picked up his first two saves in consecutive appearances over the weekend. This makes him the closer of choice in Cincinnati for the time being. The lefty has a strong 2.93 ERA, but has allowed 10 walks compared to just 13 strikeouts in 15.1 innings. Billy Hamilton has shown a pulse over the past week going 5-for-16 with a .313/.353/.375 slash line from the two-hole. Despite stealing only 2 bases, it is good to see that he has four attempts. He has the wheels to make his success rate much better than 50 percent moving forward. If you are still looking to fill the ever-so-volatile shortstop position, Zack Cozart is a player who will not win a week for you, but he can hold over all your ratios in a roto type format with his 340/.343/.567 line on the season. He also benefits from leading off for the Reds and hitting in front of guys like Joey Votto, the red-hot Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce.
With little more than Ryan Braun to discuss, we could just skip the Brewers until the trade talks start to heat up. But I am a nice guy. Like the aforementioned Santana from the Twins, Jonathon Villar can really assist you in the steals category. The advantage that Villar gives you over a guy like Santana is the slot in batting order. Villar usually hits out of the leadoff spot while Santant usually get the 9-hole. Chris Carter is a better piece to own in points leagues as he has the propensity to hit home runs in bunches. But he continues to strike out and hit for a low average. Besides Jimmy Nelson, they do not have any pitchers that are worth owning, and most of them should be avoided even on the juiciest of two-start weeks.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 12th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #13 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. 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 Joe Iannone and Zak Sauer. Zak is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, a co-host of our Saturday football shows starting in June, and the co-host of Sports Buffet’s radio show “Sports Talk” every Monday with Lou Landers. Joe is a writer with MLFS, frequent show guest, and a key contributor to the MLFS community.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday May 15th, 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 Phil Weiss. Marc is a former writer with MLFS, a two-time MLFB champ, and frequent guest on the shows this year. Phil Weiss. Phil Weiss’s resume includes working as a CPA with a large public accounting firm as well as private industry (Fortune 500), specializing in international corporate tax planning. Chief Financial Analyst for Independent RIA.
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