Connect with us

Baseball Writers

Happy Easterover/Passeaster from the Mad Professor. Early Season Egg-layers, Studs and Duds

http://bit.ly/2ogsS8f

Happy Catholic Easter, Passover and Orthodox Easter.  The religions got their acts together and we had a triumvirate of high holidays yesterday.  What a deal.

So, in the spirit of revelation, transcendence, enlightenment and preoccupations of 13-year-olds who seek religious redemption and affiliation only with regard to whose mom is cooking what for which holiday, we take a first look today at rising and falling stocks and over and underachievers.

No.  Seriously.  If you think about it, we gringos generally can be defined by the mix of our religious faiths and sports seasons.  What is more American than Thanksgiving and football?  This is our culture—yes, OUR culture–at its best.  Americans may argue about a lot of stuff.  But, even folks who hate each other feel bad if they know that their worst enemy eats alone on Thanksgiving.  Around this time of year we get into all this Easter and High Holiday stuff.  But, be honest.  What’s more important: what the Easter bunny brings, everlasting life, or how your baseball team is doing two weeks into the season?  High Holidays or how the Maple Leafs are faring in the playoffs?  You get the idea.  I worship at the Cathedral of Boston.  Nuf Sed.  Happy Holidays and, now, then…

I got this data from our friends at Yahoo! and from Fangraphs.  All great stuff.  I first look at Yahoo! numbers to see who among the top 25 Pitchers on Opening day has fallen or risen.  Then I look at the current top 25 to see who is overachieving.  Finally, I take a look at Fangraphs data to see which pitchers are delivering the most in terms of WAR.

Opening Day Top 25:  Which Mighty Have Fallen?

We begin with a return to Opening Day. The following table from Yahoo! shows the performance of 25 highest-ranked pitchers on Opening Day.  Surprise! Mr. Kershaw was #1.  How much did someone in your league fork out for him?  Has gravity had any impact on his rankings?  Is he dropping like Icarus?

Pitchers GP Pre-Season Current % Owned IP SV K ERA WHIP QS Bends
Clayton Kershaw LAD 3 3 28 99% 21.1 0 22 2.53 0.70 2 -25
Noah Syndergaard NYM 3 14 15 99% 19 0 20 0.95 0.84 3 -1
Madison Bumgarner SF 3 16 45 99% 21 0 24 3.43 1.00 3 -29
Max Scherzer Was 2 19 55 99% 12.2 0 17 2.13 0.95 2 -36
Chris Sale Bos 3 25 7 99% 21.2 0 29 1.25 0.74 3 18
Corey Kluber Cle 3 31 509 99% 18.1 0 18 6.38 1.42 1 -478
Yu Darvish Tex 3 34 90 99% 19.1 0 19 2.33 1.19 2 -56
Jake Arrieta ChC 3 37 51 99% 18.2 0 21 2.89 0.91 2 -14
Jon Lester ChC – P 2 39 132 99% 11 0 14 1.64 1.27 1 -93
Johnny Cueto SF 3 45 164 99% 19 0 18 3.79 1.21 2 -119
Justin Verlander Det 3 47 370 99% 17.1 0 18 5.71 1.44 2 -323
Stephen Strasburg Was 3 49 53 99% 21 0 19 3.00 1.00 3 -4
Chris Archer TB 3 60 92 99% 20.1 0 18 2.21 1.18 2 -32
Jacob deGrom NYM 4 61 22 99% 19 0 22 1.89 0.84 3 39
Kyle Hendricks ChC 2 62 457 98% 11 0 9 5.73 1.27 0 -395
Aroldis Chapman NYY 5 68 60 99% 4.2 3 8 0.00 0.64 0 8
Kenley Jansen LAD – P 5 70 455 99% 4.2 3 6 3.86 1.07 0 -385
Masahiro Tanaka NYY 3 71 707 97% 14 0 13 8.36 1.93 1 -636
Carlos Carrasco Cle 2 74 72 98% 12.2 0 14 2.13 0.71 1 2
Carlos Martínez StL 3 76 202 98% 17.2 0 24 3.57 1.42 1 -126
Julio Teheran Atl 3 81 43 97% 19 0 15 0.95 1.21 3 38
Gerrit Cole Pit 3 82 438 96% 17 0 11 5.29 1.47 2 -356
Cole Hamels Tex 2 85 137 98% 13 0 9 2.77 1.08 2 -52
Kenta Maeda LAD 3 91 551 94% 14 0 14 7.07 1.36 -460
José Quintana CWS 3 93 631 95% 17.1 0 14 6.75 1.62 1 -538

The table shows the usual data and metrics. But, I’ve added my homemade “bends” measure that indicates how far a pitcher has risen or fallen in the ranks since Opening Day.  (OK.  I suppose it could also be the “nosebleed” measure.   But, on this triple-decker of religious feasts, I will not muck around with denominational differences.)  So, who’s done us wrong and who is giving us happy feet?

Wow.  In the immortal words of Crash Davis:  “[A}nything travels that far oughta have a damn stewardess on it, don’t you think?”  Clearly, some of our pitchers  are in need of a flight attendant.  They might be hauled off of a United Airlines flight.  But, you may be stuck with some of these guys.  But seriously…

Pitchers GP Pre-Season Current % Owned IP SV K ERA WHIP QS Bends
Masahiro Tanaka NYY 3 71 707 97% 14 0 13 8.36 1.93 1 -636
José Quintana CWS 3 93 631 95% 17.1 0 14 6.75 1.62 1 -538
Corey Kluber Cle 3 31 509 99% 18.1 0 18 6.38 1.42 1 -478
Kenta Maeda LAD 3 91 551 94% 14 0 14 7.07 1.36 -460
Kyle Hendricks ChC 2 62 457 98% 11 0 9 5.73 1.27 0 -395
Kenley Jansen LAD 5 70 455 99% 4.2 3 6 3.86 1.07 0 -385
Gerrit Cole Pit 3 82 438 96% 17 0 11 5.29 1.47 2 -356
Justin Verlander Det 3 47 370 99% 17.1 0 18 5.71 1.44 2 -323
Carlos Martínez StL 3 76 202 98% 17.2 0 24 3.57 1.42 1 -126
Johnny Cueto SF 3 45 164 99% 19 0 18 3.79 1.21 2 -119

Now, granted, we are barely 10% of the way into the season.  Nonetheless, a lot of folks forked out real money or draft choices for Corey Kluber (dropped 478 slots) and Justin Verlander (dropped a mere 323 spots).  Anyone drinking any kool-aid on Masahiro Tanaka (dropped 636 freaking spots) deserves what he gets.  Quintana was so many people’s lovable workhorse.  Jansen’s still a stud closer.  But still.  Every year we are told:  DON’T FORK OUT GOOD MONEY OR EARLY DRAFT SLOTS ON PITCHING.  We nod affirmatively and then are drawn to the pretty lights as if Obi-wan Kenobi were working the  Jedi mind trick on us. “Of course you should spend  $80 on Kershaw.” “Of  course I should spend $80 on Kershaw.”

Clearly, these are early season stats and, 15 IP into the early, colder weeks of any season, no one should be panicking about any of these guys except for Tanaka (as I noted last week).  This is a guy who has held the Yankees together when he’s been healthy.  If we selected the MVP based on the one guy without whom a team would have tanked, then Tanaka would be a two- or three-time winner.  But, this start is so bad that it’s off the charts for him.  I still think there is an injury hiding there. Don’t be surprised if he’s on the 10-day DL soon.

Earning Their Money?

We can’t be all dark and morose on this fine Spring religious tripleheader.  So, let’s take a look at the guys you forked out money for who are actually delivering on their value, more or less.  The next table shows the 10 pitchers among the pre-season top 25 who have risen the most/fallen the  least.

Pitchers GP Pre-Season? Current % Owned IP SV K ERA WHIP QS Bends
Jacob deGrom NYM 4 61 22 99% 19 0 22 1.89 0.84 3 39
Julio Teheran Atl 3 81 43 97% 19 0 15 0.95 1.21 3 38
Chris Sale Bos 3 25 7 99% 21.2 0 29 1.25 0.74 3 18
Aroldis Chapman NYY 5 68 60 99% 4.2 3 8 0.00 0.64 0 8
Carlos Carrasco Cle 2 74 72 98% 12.2 0 14 2.13 0.71 1 2
Noah Syndergaard NYM 3 14 15 99% 19 0 20 0.95 0.84 3 -1
Stephen Strasburg Was 3 49 53 99% 21 0 19 3.00 1.00 3 -4
Jake Arrieta ChC 3 37 51 99% 18.2 0 21 2.89 0.91 2 -14
Clayton Kershaw LAD 3 3 28 99% 21.1 0 22 2.53 0.70 2 -25
Madison Bumgarner SF 3 16 45 99% 21 0 24 3.43 1.00 3 -29

DeGrom is dealing, covering Thor’s back and assuaging injury concerns while jumping 38 spots… so far.  Strasburg (-4) and Syndergaard (-1) are delivering their predicted value.  Julio Teheran (+38) is delivering post-hype value.  He has 15 K in 19 IP with 3 QS in three starts.  Imagine if he had an offense to provide support? Chris Sale is demonstrating that Fenway’s impact on lefties may not always be horrible…at first.  He’s had two starts in the Cathedral and one on the road.  Home ERA is 0.64.  Road ERA is 2.35 (when he gave up 2 ER and struck out 10 in Detroit).

Arrieta, Kershaw and Bumgarner are displaying the curse of the rankings.  Kershaw was ranked #3 behind Trout and Mookie. He had no place to go but down.  2 QS and 22 K in 21 IP and his value has dropped.  BUY LOW NOW!  Same goes for Bumgarner.  #seriously.

 

The Overachievers

The current top-25 pitchers (as of noon, EDT on 16 April) are in the next table.  Just to cover a potential denominational spat, I refer to the bends as “nosebleed.”

Pitchers GP Pre-Season Current % Owned IP SV K ERA WHIP QS nosebleed
James Paxton Sea 3 134 3 92% 21 0 22 0 0.57 3 131
Ervin Santana Min 3 242 5 81% 22 0 15 0.41 0.45 3 237
Chris Sale Bos 3 25 7 99% 21 0 29 1.25 0.74 3 18
Dallas Keuchel Hou 3 128 11 96% 21 0 15 0.86 0.62 3 117
Noah Syndergaard NYM 3 14 15 99% 19 0 20 0.95 0.84 3 -1
Jacob deGrom NYM 4 61 22 99% 19 0 22 1.89 0.84 3 39
Greg Holland Col 6 279 26 87% 6 6 8 0 0.83 0 253
Clayton Kershaw LAD 3 3 28 99% 21 0 22 2.53 0.7 2 -25
Mike Leake StL 2 288 31 45% 15 0 13 0.6 0.73 2 257
Jason Vargas KC 2 441 35 42% 13 0 14 0.66 0.88 2 406
Danny Duffy KC 3 105 39 98% 20 0 17 1.8 1.05 3 66
Chase Anderson Mil 2 524 40 9% 13 0 11 0.69 0.77 2 484
Julio Teheran Atl 3 81 43 97% 19 0 15 0.95 1.21 3 38
Madison Bumgarner SF 3 16 45 99% 21 0 24 3.43 1 3 -29
Jimmy Nelson Mil 2 1019 48 11% 13 0 13 1.38 0.85 2 971
Addison Reed NYM 6 312 50 67% 7 3 7 1.29 0.43 0 262
Jake Arrieta ChC 3 37 51 99% 18 0 21 2.89 0.91 2 -14
Stephen Strasburg Was 3 49 53 99% 21 0 19 3 1 3 -4
Amir Garrett Cin 2 509 54 45% 12 0 9 1.42 0.71 2 455
Max Scherzer Was 2 19 55 99% 12 0 17 2.13 0.95 2 -36
Raisel Iglesias Cin 5 271 57 83% 7.2 3 8 1.17 0.65 0 214
Aroldis Chapman NYY 5 68 60 99% 4.2 3 8 0 0.64 0 8
Chris Devenski Hou 3 330 62 43% 9 0 17 1 0.56 0 268
Gio González Was 2 230 65 75% 13 0 13 0.69 1.15 2 165
David Robertson CWS 4 170 67 91% 4 2 8 0 0.25 0 103

Wow. Aren’t the numbers fickle?  Paxton is living up to the breakout predictions.  He throws incredible heat and is demonstrating that, so far, the pre-season pundits and prognosticators were spot on.  Taking a look at the highest risers (I count the top 12 here just to keep Paxton in play), we see the following:

Pitchers GP Pre-Season Current % Owned IP SV K ERA WHIP QS nosebleed
Jimmy Nelson Mil 2 1019 48 11% 13 0 13 1.38 0.85 2 971
Chase Anderson Mil 2 524 40 9% 13 0 11 0.69 0.77 2 484
Amir Garrett Cin 2 509 54 45% 12 0 9 1.42 0.71 2 455
Jason Vargas KC 2 441 35 42% 13 0 14 0.66 0.88 2 406
Chris Devenski Hou 3 330 62 43% 9 0 17 1.00 0.56 0 268
Addison Reed NYM 6 312 50 67% 7 3 7 1.29 0.43 0 262
Mike Leake StL 2 288 31 45% 15 0 13 0.6 0.73 2 257
Greg Holland Col 6 279 26 87% 6 6 8 0.00 0.83 0 253
Ervin Santana Min 3 242 5 81% 22 0 15 0.41 0.45 3 237
Raisel Iglesias Cin 5 271 57 83% 7.2 3 8 1.17 0.65 0 214
Gio González Was 2 230 65 75% 13 0 13 0.69 1.15 2 165
James Paxton Sea 3 134 3 92% 21 0 22 0.00 0.57 3 131

Granted, if you start out ranked #1019, the rules of gravity don’t apply to you the same way they do to the likes of Kershaw, Bumgarner, and Arrieta.  Nonetheless, Jimmy Nelson (+971) is throwing quality innings for the Brewers and no one seems to care (11% owned).  Three of these guys (Reed, Iglesias and Holland) are closers not named Jansen or Chapman. So, their stock has risen with quality relief outings.  Six are owned in less than 50% of all Yahoo! leagues.  There is good value to grab here if you are able to stream pitchers.

The great enigma in this list is Houston’s Chris Devenski.  He’s in a deep rotation with Ken Giles as the closer.  He has electric stuff and is striking guys out at a sick rate.  Houston has an embarrassment of pitching riches (not to mention a pretty solid lineup).  Devenski is worth a stash if you can get him.  He will add to your weekly K counts in H2H or roto leagues.  Can’t say he’s worth an investment in DFS because you don’t know if or when he will pitch.  If he solidifies a role, he will pay dividends in all league formats.

Bang for the Buck

So, ups and downs in the rankings of the first two weeks notwithstanding, who is paying dividends and simply delivering quality baseball?  Our friends at Fangraphsprovide some WAR numbers.  The top 25 pitchers in terms of WAR so far are:

Name Team W L SV GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP FIP xFIP WAR
James Paxton Mariners 2 0 0 3 21 9.43 1.71 0 0.163 1.41 2.94 1.0
Noah Syndergaard Mets 1 0 0 3 19 9.47 0 0 0.302 0.83 2.01 1.0
Chris Sale Red Sox 1 1 0 3 21 12.05 2.08 0.42 0.227 1.55 2.43 0.9
Chris Archer Rays 2 0 0 3 20 7.97 2.66 0 0.305 2.05 3.39 0.7
Mike Leake Cardinals 1 1 0 2 15 7.8 0.6 0 0.256 1.40 2.68 0.7
Jason Vargas Royals 2 0 0 2 13 9.22 1.32 0 0.294 1.33 2.38 0.7
Madison Bumgarner Giants 0 2 0 3 21 10.29 1.29 0.86 0.286 2.46 2.97 0.6
Dylan Bundy Orioles 1 1 0 2 13 7.43 1.35 0 0.297 1.74 3.54 0.6
Stephen Strasburg Nationals 1 0 0 3 21 8.14 2.14 0.43 0.263 2.46 3.14 0.6
Max Scherzer Nationals 1 1 0 2 12 12.08 2.84 0 0.276 1.44 3.46 0.6
Ervin Santana Twins 3 0 0 3 22 6.14 2.05 0.41 0.074 2.85 3.78 0.6
Tanner Roark Nationals 2 0 0 3 18 6 1 0 0.246 2.27 3.69 0.6
Aaron Nola Phillies 1 0 0 2 11 10.64 1.64 0 0.433 1.12 1.99 0.5
Jacob deGrom Mets 0 0 0 3 19 10.42 1.89 0.95 0.227 2.62 2.35 0.5
Jon Lester Cubs 0 0 0 2 11 11.45 2.45 0 0.379 1.21 2.81 0.5
Carlos Martinez Cardinals 0 2 0 3 17 12.23 4.58 0.51 0.341 2.82 3.54 0.5
Zack Greinke Diamondbacks 1 1 0 3 16 7.56 2.7 0.54 0.346 2.94 3.88 0.5
Kevin Gausman Orioles 1 0 0 3 16 6.19 5.06 0 0.34 3.25 5.05 0.4
Ivan Nova Pirates 1 1 0 2 12 3.75 0 0 0.311 2.35 4.22 0.4
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 2 1 0 3 21 9.28 0.42 1.69 0.192 3.45 2.66 0.4
John Lackey Cubs 1 1 0 2 12 12.75 3.75 0.75 0.321 2.44 2.82 0.4
Danny Salazar Indians 0 1 0 2 11 15.43 4.63 0.77 0.381 2.42 2.27 0.4
Julio Teheran Braves 1 0 0 3 19 7.11 3.79 0 0.294 2.94 4.54 0.4
Yu Darvish Rangers 1 1 0 3 19 8.84 4.66 0.47 0.25 3.2 3.76 0.4
Michael Pineda Yankees 1 1 0 2 11 13.5 0 1.59 0.333 2.23 1.21 0.4

Paxton, Syndergaard and Sale are delivering astonishing value so far.  Despite falling in the rankings, Mad Bum is still delivering quality stuff.  The xFIPs indicate that we might proceed with caution as some of these guys (Teheran, Nova, Gausman) seem to be benefiting from better than predicted defensive play.  If can swallow enough ulcer medication, Michael Pineda’s performance should only improve based on xFIP.  Still, that’s a lot of Tums.  I hope I don’t eat those words on Monday.  But, Pineda looks like a solid bet against a struggling Cardinals Easter lineup.

Closing Thoughts

One guy I’m wondering about in this chart is Zach Greinke.   He was projected as a solid, bounce back value pick.  He is hardly dominating. But, his WAR analysis suggests that he is not so awful yet.   Panicking owners might do you a favor and sell him low.  Take a shot.

I’ll run similar analysis throughout the season as I look to see who continues to over and underperform and where hidden value may be lurking.   This will be much more meaningful in week 4 when the weather stabilizes and pitchers have worked out early season kinks.  Best wishes.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 16th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #83 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guests this week are Lenny Melnick and Kyle Klinker. Kyle is an MLFB champion and a veteran of MLFS leagues. Lenny is an FSWA Hall of Famer, the co-host of the Sunday morning fantasy sports show from 7-10am EST with Craig Mish on Sirius, and the owner of lennymelnickfantasysports.com. Check his shows out on his site every morning through out the week at 9am EST.

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 below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 23rd, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #84 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guests this week are Andy Macuga and Ron Shandler. Andy is the head football and baseball coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in southern California. Ron is a FSTA Hall of Famer and a fantasy baseball pioneer.

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.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Help Support Our Growth!

Latest Podcast Episode

Radio Show Feed

MLFS Writers

📷 (via “The Amateur Ward” Defensive Targets: D/ST, IDP, and DFS Week #7) tmblr.co/ZtzYOp2RDgXqs

Yesterday from Corey Roberts's Twitter via Tumblr

Pages

Subscribe for Free

Help Support Our Growth!

More in Baseball Writers