Martin Perez has been one of baseball’s best starters over the first month of the 2014 season. Combining a plus change-up with a low-90s sinker, Perez cruised to a 26-consecutive scoreless innings streak- including back-to-back complete game shutouts. Despite Tuesday’s outing against Oakland (he gave up eight earned runs in 4.2 innings), Perez has the stuff and makeup to be a mainstay in the Rangers rotation for the next decade. For the Rangers, the answer is obvious- they signed him to an extension during the off-season, locking him up through 2020. For fantasy owners, the answer is much less straightforward.
One of the Giants’ top ten prospects, Clayton Blackburn has cruised through the the lower minors. In striking out more than a batter per inning and issuing fewer than two walks per nine innings pitched, the right-hander has sterling peripherals and youth on his side. The statistical analysis points to Blackburn being an impact pitcher at the Major League level. A decade ago, pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit broke many SABRists’ hearts. He became the cautionary tale for those who abandon scouting in favor of stats alone. Is Blackburn is the latest example of this methodology? As Chris saw in 2012, breaking down Blackburn requires an in person look.
Yesterday was a banner day for Daily Fantasy Baseball Diamonds. John Lackey, Shane Victorino and Chris Owings combined for 25.5 points at the rock bottom price of $13,400. Hopefully, readers cashed in on the picks and won big. Today’s diamonds include a quartet of undervalued assets with strong situational match ups. Check back Monday through Friday for my best value picks. Even better, subscribe and see every pick, every day for just $1 per week.
Yesterday, Carlos Santana returned from the baseball dead and put me in the win column with an 8.5 point effort. In all, five daily fantasy baseball picks combined for 13.25 points. Not ideal, but at $14,300 combined, $20,700 in budget allowed owners to round out the roster with stars. Hopefully, it resulted in a cash finish. Today, we’ll profile just three players as my lineup with feature six players in the $3,500 to $3,700 range. Included is a pitcher with a stellar pitching match up, shortstop who dominates at home and a forgotten outfielder who began the season on the disabled list. Check back daily for more diamonds and subscribe for just a dollar per week.
As a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League, Texas Rangers pitching prospect Yohander Mendez is stymieing the competition. Against a lineup with top Rockies prospects David Dahl, Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon, Mendez struck out 10 in six shutout innings. The young lefty dominated hitters by changing eye levels with a fastball and sinking changeup. Is Mendez another command/control Sally-League dominating Sally hitters or a legitimate prospect?
Oscar Tavaras and Stephen Piscotty are the Cardinals prospect names being fawned over. After all, Randal Grichuk was a “throw in” by the Angels to sweeten the pot in the Ryan Freese/Peter Bourjos swap. With the third baseman struggling, how good can the Triple-A center fielder be anyway? These questions were answered and then some after a four hour drive to the Nashville Sounds’ home park. Instead of a third wheel, Grichuk shined and presented as the best prospect on the field for either team, flashing solid tools across the board. 12 days later and Grichuk is gearing up for his MLB debut. And while he may not stick initially, Grichuk’s the Cardinals center fielder of the future. Tavaras and Piscotty aren’t middle of the diamond players at the next level.
MLB Stock Watch: Puello’s down, but can he rebound?Post-hype sleeper in the Cardinals’ outfield? A pitcher on the verge of returning from Tommy John surgery? Five-tool prospect whose stock is down? In the baseball universe, tracking every player’s successes and failures would be a full time job with overtime. For MLB Stock Watch, we’ll do the heavy lifting and identify players with the talent to shine. More importantly, future opportunity will be assessed using MLB depth charts. For a player to be included in the series, talent must meet opportunity because fantasy baseball owners need first crack at the best of what’s next.
An abbreviated schedule forces me to start a top pitcher today. Without a sleeper arm to include with today’s Daily Fantasy Baseball Diamonds, bargain basement options are needed at a number of positions. Luckily, we found them! For $3,100 or less, Monday’s diamonds include a catcher, first baseman, third baseman, shortstop and outfielder priced at $3,100 or less. Subscribe to ROTOscouting and enjoy my best value picks every week.
A last minute substitution has me covering this week’s FAAB Top Targets piece for Brian. Because of this, the format will be flipped on its head. As a member of two “Experts” leagues, I wanted to share the names of five arms I’m actively tracking as sleepers whose value will spike due to injury and opportunity. Add these pitchers to your deep dynasty league watch lists and consider pouncing before it’s too late. In every league, it seems players are coming off the board faster than I can keep up given my scouting schedule and other ROTOscouting duties. With most fantasy baseball owners leading busy lives outside their respective leagues, it’s smart to stash and hold FAAB top targets early, so they aren’t forgotten about later on.
While charting pitches during Braden Shipley’s 2014 debut last week, a few off-day South Bend pitchers discussed what Shipley worked on in extended spring training. One facetiously quipped, “Obviously not his curveball,” indicating that Shipley’s third-best pitch has made notable improvements since last season. This is an important development and very good news for the Diamondbacks’ 2013 first-rounder.
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