FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets (Pitchers): 6/20/2014
The biggest FAAB fantasy baseball target last week was Andrew Heaney [FULL SCOUTING REPORT] profiled in this space twice during May. Earlier this month, proactive owners still had a chance to beat the hype and secure his services for a single-digit bid. After a stellar major league debut, Heaney is on his way to being universally owned. Owners who missed out still need to spend those resources somewhere else to reinforce their rotation. This week’s FAAB targets include a pitching prospect whose debut is on the horizon and four, post-hype sleepers having under the radar success. Bid recommendations are based on a $100 FAAB budget. Players listed are available in the majority of leagues across the three major fantasy platforms.
Jake Arrieta, RHP, Chicago Cubs
$5 (33% Yahoo / 27% ESPN / 51% CBS)
Jake Arrieta was a Top-100 prospect in 2009 and 2010. After four unsuccessful seasons in Baltimore, Arrieta was traded to the Chicago Cubs in 2013. This year, he’s been the second best Cubs starter behind Jeff Samardzija and the seventh best starter on ESPN’s Player Rater over the last month. A career low walk rate and career high strikeout rate are the foundations of Arrieta’s dominance in 2014. According to Fangraphs, Arrieta’s ERA- is 48% better than league average. He’s actually pitched better against lefties than righties and has been equally stingy at home (.249 wOBA) and on the road (.272 wOBA). After years of under performance, the component stats suggest Arrieta and his five pitch mix are piquing. Bet the success continues for this late bloomer.
Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
$4 (8% Yahoo / 2% ESPN / 45% CBS)
Jake Odorizzi was profiled early this season in FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets. Odorizzi’s ERA, WHIP, and BB/9 have decreased every month while his K/BB has improved. Historically a pitcher’s park, Tropicana Field has been the eighth highest-scoring park in the majors this year. However, Odorizzi has been significantly better at home with a 79 OPS+, 21% better than the major league average. In 42 2/3 innings he has a 3.16 ERA, 1.195 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, and a 3.0 K/BB ratio. Conservatively bid on Odorizzi and use him in his home starts to maximize his earning potential.
Danny Duffy, LHP, Kansas City Royals
$2 (16% Yahoo / 5% ESPN / 33% CBS)
Danny Duffy was a four-time Baseball America Top-10 prospect for the Kansas City Royals, but an inability to harness his command negated his plus fastball velocity from the left side and lead to mixed results in his major league starts. In 2011 ROTOscouting’s Jeff Reese projected Duffy as a mid-rotation starter if he could refine his inconsistent stuff. After starting 2014 in the bullpen, Duffy was shifted to the rotation where he’s logged four quality starts in eight turns. He’s been especially effective on the road with a 1.72 ERA, 0.957 WHIP, 8.33 K/9, and 2.30 BB/9. Duffy’s road OPS+ is an elite 52, 48% better than the league average away from home. While Duffy has owned same-side hitters (.079/.146/.079) he’s been effective against right-handed hitters as well, surrendering a triple slash of only .223/.317/.350. With a .209 road BABIP there’s certainly risk Duffy will regress, but take a chance for short money and deploy the FAAB fantasy baseball target on the road until he does.
Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
$1 (<1% Yahoo / <1% ESPN / 3% CBS)
Pittsburgh Pirates starters have the third highest ERA in the National League. Already four and a half games out of a wild card spot and sliding, the Pirates’ rotation needs to stabilize to return to the postseason. Nick Kingham [FULL SCOUTING REPORT] was recently promoted to Triple-A and has been magnificent. In 14 innings, he’s only allowed 10 base runners while striking out 10. Kingham’s completed seven frames in each start with an ERA and WHIP under 1.00. While his numbers in Double-A didn’t jump off the page, they still suggest Kingham would be an upgrade over Brandon Cumpton, Vance Worley or Jeff Locke. ROTOscouting’s Jeff Reese notes in his scouting report Kingham throws three pitches that project as above average. But as is the case with most young pitchers, control/command will determine whether Kingham reaches his mid-rotation starter ceiling. The Pirates may give Kingham a handful of additional Triple-A starts, but owners should invest now and beat others to the punch. Dollar speculation plays can always be dropped as roster needs demand.
Tyler Matzek, LHP, Colorado Rockies
$1 (2% Yahoo / 1% ESPN / 19% CBS)
Drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft Tyler Matzek toiled in Single-A ball until 2013 thanks to a walk rate of six BB/9 or more. ROTOscouting’s Mike Newman saw Matzek four times in 2010 and 2011 and saw his decline firsthand. Newman said had the hardest fastball he had scouted from a left-hander to a prospect struggling with an inconsistent release point and suddenly average velocity. Matzek was on the way to being a first round bust. He reached Double-A last year and Matzek’s control gradually improved. A career best 4.2 BB/9 this year in Triple-A, coupled with injuries and ineffectiveness in the major league rotation earned Matzek a major league promotion. A southpaw whose fastball sits in the low to mid-90s is rare and worth a shot in dynasty leagues. But a pitcher with a career minor league walk rate of six BB/9 pitching in Coors Field needs to be monitored closely. Invest minimally, avoid him at home and leverage Matzek against weaker offenses on the road.
FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype when the next “sure thing” prospect arrives in The Show. But owners who miss out on the hot shot rookie or find their FAAB budget running low have options. This column profiled four former Top-100 prospects in a position to offer value at bargain prices. Sometimes the next big thing is the last big thing.
22 Jun 2014 / Brian Molter /
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