FAAB Top Targets (Pitchers): 3/28/14
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. Each week, FAAB Top Targets will detail five or six pitchers available in the majority of fantasy leagues who represent strong buying opportunities. 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 or skills 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.
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
$3 (8% Yahoo / <1% ESPN / 36% CBS)
Less than a year after being selected by the Orioles with the fourth pick in the 2012 draft, Kevin Gausman made his major league debut. Underwhelming results followed, causing him to lose a bit of luster. Still, Gausman entered 2014 as a consensus top-25 prospect. Struggles in the rotation caused Gausman to slide down draft boards. The result is a buy low opportunity for savvy investors. Gausman is using spring training to clean up his delivery and recommit to working down in the zone to generate more ground balls. The work is paying spring dividends as he has a 2.45 ERA to go with a 1.00 WHIP and 10.6 K/9. Gausman is likely to begin the year in Triple-A, but with names like Norris, Britton, and Yoon ahead of him, he’ll be recalled quickly. He’s worth a preemptive bid in 12-team leagues or more as a one of this week’s FAAB top targets.
Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Los Angeles Angels
$2 (5% Yahoo / <1% ESPN / 44% CBS)
Just two years ago, Tyler Skaggs ranked as the 12th best prospect on Baseball America’s 2012 Top-100. At the time, ROTOscouting questioned the high ranking after scouting Skaggs in Double-A. A career ERA of five-plus has caused Skaggs’ stock to drop. With an increase in velocity this spring resulting from cleaner mechanics and a longer stride length, Skaggs is poised to return the most value in the Angels rotation. Add Skaggs to watch lists in 12-team leagues, and he’s worth a speculative add in deep leagues with 14 teams or more. Working in a pitcher’s park, Skaggs will evolve into a successful post-hype prospect. Plus, lefties that can reach the low to mid-90s are a rare and valuable breed.
Robbie Erlin, LHP, San Diego Padres
$2 (1% Yahoo / 1% ESPN / 4% CBS)
Continuing the theme of last week’s FAAB Top Targets, Robbie Erlin is in a position to benefit from an injury to rotation-mate Josh Johnson. His biggest competition was Matt Wisler, but reports emerged Wednesday Erlin had secured the role. He’s had an effective spring posting a 1.46 ERA and 12/3 K/BB ratio in 12.1 innings. A top-10 prospect in both the Rangers and Padres organizations per Baseball America, Erlin’s nine outings resulted in six quality starts, but a mediocre 6.6 K/9 and 4.12 ERA. ROTOscouting has long been on Erlin as a mid-rotation starter and Mike Newman doubled down on the left-hander by selecting him in the TDGX Experts League Draft.
Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
$1 (36% Yahoo / 2% ESPN / 45% CBS)
Carlos Martinez has an electric fastball. He entered spring with a chance to win a spot in the Cardinals rotation. Martinez dominated with a 1.76 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in 15.1 innings, but lost the job to Joe Kelly anyway. Instead, Martinez will begin the year as the primary set-up man to Trevor Rosenthal. In dynasty leagues, relievers earn saves or are busts. In the case of Martinez, he’s worth speculating on in multiple roles. Should Rosenthal be injured, Martinez is first in line for saves. If Kelly’s spring struggles (6.28 ERA and 1.61 WHIP) carry into the season, Martinez may be stretched out. Martinez is a strong play in holds leagues, and is one of only a few middle relievers capable of striking out enough batters to be relevant in 5×5 as well. Bid now and sit on Martinez for a month or two. The potential reward is huge.
Danny Farquhar, RHP, Seattle Mariners
$1 (31% Yahoo / 18% ESPN / 23% CBS)
Danny Farquhar emerged as the Mariners closer in 2013. He was dominant from August on, posting a 2.42 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 11.76 K/9, and 16 saves in 18 chances. However, Seattle still signed a “proven” closer this off-season in Fernando Rodney. Following a dramatic increase in BB/9 from 2012 to 2013 (1.8 to 4.9), Rodney may lose the job. Farquhar has been working this spring to add a two-seam fastball to an arsenal that already includes four-seamer, cut fastball and curveball. A desire to continue to expand his repertoire on the heels of rebuilding his delivery suggests Farquhar isn’t a one-hit wonder. If Rodney falters, the smart money is on Farquhar.
FAAB Top Targets: Churn And Burn
This week’s FAAB Top Targets are cheap, young, end-of-roster gambles with upside. Speculating on these pitchers while the market is soft allows owners to return maximum value on a minimal FAAB investment while avoiding a bidding war down the line. Three months from now, it will be a different story as each of the five pitchers listed will be owned. Don’t be the owner who passed on young talent, only to regret it later.
28 Mar 2014 / Brian Molter / 4
Tags: FAAB Top Targets
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