FAAB Top Targets (Pitchers): 3/21/2014
If a fantasy baseball league uses FAAB (Free Agent Acquisition Budget) during the year to acquire free agents, an important ingredient to a team’s success is managing said budget. Every Friday, the top five or six pitchers who are FAAB Top Targets will be discussed. In general, these pitchers are owned in less than 50% of CBS, ESPN, and Yahoo fantasy leagues. The focus will be arms whose enhanced role can make a short and/or long term impact.. Bidding recommendations are based on a standard $100 FAAB. New to FAAB?, check out these resources to guide and learn the basics of bidding strategy.
Tommy Milone, LHP, Oakland Athletics
$2 – (CBS 14% / Y! 6% / ESPN < 1%)
It’s only March 21 and the Athletics have already lost 2/5 of their rotation. Jarrod Parker will miss the season following his second Tommy John surgery opening a rotation spot for Tommy Milone. Owners in leagues with innings limits, in which the strikeout category plays more like K/9, may want to spend their FAAB elsewhere. His career 6.83 K/9 in 2012-2013 ranks 51st out of 74 qualified starters.
However, Milone is a prime target to deploy using a splits strategy, posting a 2.74 and 3.44 ERA at home in 2012-2013. Milone is unusable on the road as his ERA has topped 4.60 the past two seasons. FAAB top targets won’t always be perfect, but Milone is worth an above minimum bid due to strong home numbers.
David Hale, RHP, Atlanta Braves
$2 – (CBS 4% / Y! 2% / ESPN < 1%)
David Hale benefits from major injuries to two Braves starting pitchers. Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy both require season ending Tommy John surgeries and will miss all of 2014. Hale made two strong starts at the end of 2013, registering a 0.83 ERA and 0.92 WHIP, while striking out 14 in 11 innings. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 7 prospect in the Braves organization in 2014. Mike Minor is expected to rejoin the rotation in April following a bout with shoulder stiffness, leaving Hale or Freddy Garcia as the odd man out. The risk of Hale making a quick trip back to Triple-A requires a cautious FAAB bid. Hale is older and has little upside, but his advanced age may help him have initial success. Chris Blessing will have a more detailed look at Hale on Monday.
Randall Delgado, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
$3 – (CBS 10% / Y! 2% / ESPN < 1%)
Randall Delgado is the beneficiary of Patrick Corbin tearing his UCL and requiring Tommy John surgery. The headline prospect of the Justin Upton trade, he ranked top-3 prospect in the Atlanta organization as recently as 2012. Delgado made 19 solid starts last year, averaging over 6 innings per appearance. He hasn’t lived up to his prospect hype, posting a 4.09 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 6.38 K/9. Delgado’s main problem is the long ball, resulting in 1.86 HR/9 and a 4.96 FIP. However, he still has the upside of a durable 3/4 starter.
Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
$5 – (CBS 64%/ Y! 23%/ ESPN 10%)
While Delgado is the safe bet to make the Diamondbacks rotation as fifth starter, Archie Bradley is the sexiest of this week’s FAAB top targets. At the moment, he’s the best pitching prospect in baseball. If Bradley hasn’t already been scooped in keeper and dynasty leagues, he should be. And if the Diamondbacks surprise and hand the No. 5 spot to Bradley, owners will be submitting a much higher bid a week or two from now. He’s the only pitcher in the minor leagues with the ability to post numbers like Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez.
Jonathan Broxton, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
$4 – (CBS 6% / Y! 10% / ESPN < 1%)
On Wednesday night, Aroldis Chapman was hit in the face with a line drive off the bat of Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez, suffering facial fractures around Chapman’s left eye. He’s expected to miss 6-8 weeks minimum. The obvious candidate to replace him is Jonathan Broxton, the pitcher with the most closer experience.
Broxton is working his way back from flexor surgery in August, and returned to game action on Monday. But as recently as 2012, he saved 28 games and posted an 8.1 K/9 and a 1.2 BB/9 after being traded to Cincinnati. Broxton may not pitch back to back days to start the year, but he’ll benefit from a closer by committee situation. Managers love guys who’ve been there before. Mike Newman has a sleeper in this bullpen to keep an eye on.
Brian Matusz, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
$1 – (CBS 2% / Y! 1% / ESPN < 1%)
The Orioles seem content with Tommy Hunter as closer in April. However, his struggles against lefties last year (.294/.322/.535) are cause for concern. Projected set-up man Darren O’Day also struggles against left-handed hitters.
This leaves Brian Matusz as a dark horse closer candidate. A former high first round pick, the converted starter’s stuff played up in the Baltimore bullpen. His platoon splits against same-handed hitters makes closer by committee an option.The Orioles are still utilizing Matusz as a starter during the spring, leaving him a “fringy” play for most fantasy owners unable to see opportunity.
FAAB Top Targets: It’s About Opportunity
Each of the pitchers profiled above has a chance for an increased role compared to when the spring began. This will be a common refrain in this column throughout the year. Monitoring injury reports and changes in pitcher’s roles will be the key to identifying the best value for your FAAB dollar.
21 Mar 2014 / Brian Molter /
Tags: FAAB Top Targets
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