FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets (Pitchers): 8/1/2014
Aces Jon Lester and David Price were both moved in one of the most active trade deadline days in recent memory. But a number of other starters saw their fortunes change. This week’s FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets will focus on a handful of them. Since Boston was the epicenter of the 2014 deadline, three starters are profiled. One of the most intriguing aspects of the Boston Red Sox rotation purge is Henry Owens (profiled here in early June) is well positioned to make his Fenway Park debut early next year. Bid recommendations are based on a $100 FAAB budget.
Justin Masterson, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
$10 (41% Yahoo / 24% ESPN / 52% CBS)
Suffering through his worst season in the majors, Justin Masterson was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the St. Louis Cardinals. Masterson’s component stats suggest a turnaround is possible. His 58.5% GB% ranks among the league leaders and his FIP (4.08) is a full run and a half lower than his ERA (5.51). The ground ball inducing right-hander moves from pitching in front of the worst team defense in baseball according to UZR to one of the best. But Masterson’s main problem has been his control. A 5.14 BB/9 dwarfs his career rate of 3.7 BB/9 and ranks second worst among starters in the majors. Nearing a return from the DL, a healthy Masterson is worth a bid in the event a change in scenery turns his season around.
Allen Webster, RHP, Boston Red Sox
$7 (1% Yahoo / <1% ESPN / 7% CBS)
Allen Webster [FULL SCOUTING REPORT] received the call to Fenway last week when Jake Peavy was dealt to the San Francisco Giants. Webster has always displayed a plus fastball along with solid secondary offerings, but command has delayed Webster becoming a MLB rotation fixture. While his strikeout rate has dipped to 7.4 K/9, his 3.2 BB/9 in Triple-A this year is the lowest walk rate Webster’s posted above Rookie ball. Since the right-hander has posted his lowest ERA (3.10) since High-A, the trade-off seems to be working. With few options left above him on the depth chart and an inside track on a rotation spot next year and beyond, Webster is a strong buy in dynasty leagues.
Joe Kelly, RHP, Boston Red Sox
$6 (22% Yahoo / 6% ESPN / 41% CBS)
Joe Kelly is the newest member of the Boston Red Sox, but a move to the American League automatically hurts the FAAB fantasy baseball target’s stock. The right-hander has elite fastball velocity, ranking 21st at 95.53 mph since PITCHf/x began tracking data in 2007. But it hasn’t translated into whiffs as he’s averaged only 6.1 K/9 in his major league career. To be successful in Fenway, the 26-year old will need to continue to limit walks (2.6 BB/9 this year) and keep the ball on the ground (55% GB% in 2014). Because ROTOscouting’s sweet spot for pitchers is seven K/9, less than three BB/9 and a 50-plus percent ground ball rate, Kelly is worth adding now as he inches towards those magic numbers.
Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Boston Red Sox
$5 (<1% Yahoo / <1% ESPN / 4% CBS)
Anthony Ranaudo will make his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox today following the trades of Jon Lester and John Lackey. Ranaudo’s made steady progress since an injury-marred 2012 to reposition himself as a back of the rotation starter for Boston. While his season walk rate remains high (3.7 BB/9), Ranaudo is undefeated since June 1 with a 1.65 ERA and a 2.54 BB/9. Ranaudo traces his recent success to a mechanical tweak allowing better rhythm throughout his delivery. Ranaudo is a great target for dynasty owners looking for rotation depth heading into next year. He’s not a headliner but that just makes him reasonably priced.
Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
$6 (NA Yahoo / NA ESPN / 3% CBS)
Alex Reyes [FULL SCOUTING REPORT] began 2014 with a lot of buzz thanks to being included on a handful of top-100 lists. His performance so far has both justified the hype (10.6 K/9) and displayed just how far away he still is (5.69 BB/9). He’s the classic high-risk, high-reward dynasty league starting pitcher. ROTOscouting’s Bob Usselman scouted the 19-year old in his full-season debut in April and placed a number two starter ceiling on him. Usselman observed Reyes’ pitches generate weak contact, a fact backed up by the right-hander allowing just seven hits per nine innings. With two potential plus or better pitches, grab the FAAB fantasy baseball dynasty target of the week before he fully breaks out.
FAAB Fantasy Baseball Targets: The Trade Deadline Changes the Fantasy Landscape
While names like John Lackey and Drew Smyly are already owned in the majority of leagues, the pitchers profiled above can be equally as important to winning a championship. Part of their value lies in their cost relative to “bigger” names. But as owners of Danny Salazar and Tanner Roark last year can attest, the impact of FAAB fantasy baseball targets can be just as great.
1 Aug 2014 / Brian Molter /
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