FAAB Top Targets (Pitchers): 4/25/14
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.
Andrew Bailey, RP, Yankees ($0)
Speaking of early, it’s time to consider stashing Andrew Bailey. Depending on the format, the right-handed reliever may be DL eligible and not cost a roster spot. Before graduating to leagues with FAAB top targets, a favorite play in Yahoo! and ESPN leagues was to make a drop and add a player to stash on the disabled list before completing the active roster with a second pick up. The latest reports have Bailey 100% healthy and throwing at 90 feet. The Yankees bullpen has been strong considering the injury to closer David Robertson, but trusting Matt Thornton, Shawn Kelley, and others to do the heavy lifting in a playoff race is too much to ask. A bullpen bright spot with the raw stuff to continue shining is Dellin Betances, a pitcher mentioned as a dark horse closer candidate here late March. A month later and the towering right-hander has a 16/6 strikeout-to-walk ration in 9 2/3 innings pitched with just three hits allowed. Even so, Bailey laps the field in terms of closer experience and prior success in the role. With 89 career saves, a successful return will see him quickly move up the bullpen depth chart and into a chance to close by 2015. When every closer is worth keeping, Bailey is worth a roll of the dice.
Brad Boxberger, RP, Rays ($0)
2012 was my first spring training in Arizona. After exiting the plane and airport, a longer than expected wait to rent a car forced me to race to Peoria. After purchasing a ticket during the National Anthem, I settled in for a look at Padres and Giants prospects. A highlight of the afternoon was an inning of Brad Boxberger, a pitcher I believed would have a long and productive MLB career given his three pitch mix. Soon after, the right-hander lost the strike zone. In 24 MLB appearances, Boxberger walked nearly six batters per nine innings, earning a trip back to Triple-A in 2013. At the level, his walk rate plummeted in the minor leagues, but 18 big league appearances yielded a five-plus BB/9 again. Last winter, Boxberger joined the Rays organization known for fixing big arms with blemishes. With the Rays rotation suffering multiple blows in the early going, the bullpen will remain busy, creating opportunity throughout the organization. And with Heath Bell, Juan Carlos Oviedo and Joel Peralta signed through 2014, Boxberger has a chance to surge up the bullpen depth chart and into a set up position. Among current Rays pitchers, McGee, Boxberger, Alex Colome and Enny Romero are likely to duke it out for closer of the future. Might as well sign as many of these FAAB top targets as possible in deep leagues and corner the market.
Chris Capuano, P, Red Sox ($3)
When healthy, Capuano has always been a solid pitcher. In targeting consistent, low WHIP pitchers late in fantasy baseball leagues, I’ve found myself owning the left-hander on multiple occasions. Every pitcher lost to Tommy John surgery results in a small boost in value for pitchers like Capuano. Currently a reliever in Boston, he’s off to a great start while Felix Doubront has been a disaster. With a 11/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and 0 runs allowed in 13 innings, he’s already jockeying for a more prominent role with the Red Sox, if not for another organization. With Boston off to a poor start, they’ll be pressed to make rotation changes in the near future. If Capuano succeeds in the role and the team fall’s out of contention, then he’s a trade candidate to the highest bidder. However this plays out, expect Capuano to add value unless he falls to injury.
Sean Marshall, RP, Reds ($1)
When healthy, Marshall is one of the best relief pitchers in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, it appears his shoulder is currently held together by ABC gum and scotch tape. Having acquired Marshall in a Reality Fantasy Baseball trade as part of a trade for salary relief, my hope is he’ll rebound and be successful. Remember, a healthy and productive Marshall is a solid own in 12-team leagues because of his strong peripherals and role as primary set up man to Aroldis Chapman. At the bottom of his value, Marshall is all upside.
David Phelps, P, Yankees ($3)
With Ivan Nova out, the Yankees rotation is in shambles. Vidal Nuno, David Phelps and Warren began the year as bullpen pieces with Nuno receiving first crack at the rotation. As FAAB top targets go, he leaves plenty to be desired. Phelps has the highest strikeout rate of the trio and had success in 2013, posting 1.1 WAR in 86 2/3 innings. When Michael Pineda returns, expect Phelps to hold down the 5th spot if the Yankees don’t look outside the organization. For three bucks, I’m willing to speculate and see how things play out — especially in deep leagues where every starter matters.
Betting On The Walking Wounded As FAAB Top Targets
In trolling for lightning in a bottle, I’m comfortable cycling through oft-injured arms in the hope a couple click throughout the season. In year’s passed, it’s landed me Kris Medlen, Michael Pineda and a number of closers who recovered, then thrived — for at least a short while. Leverage DL slots and stash players to maximize every available roster space. It’s the best way to take full advantage of league settings and secure FAAB Top Targets.
25 Apr 2014 / Mike Newman /
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