Michael Cuddyer’s two year, 21 million dollar pact with the Mets was a surprise. Between the multi-year offer to a declining player and New York’s willingness to part with the 15th overall pick in the 2015 draft, one has to wonder if this is the first of a flurry of moves. Unfortunately, fantasy baseball owners are unable to sit with Sandy Alderson at the General Manager’s meetings and learn what other plans are in store. For now, we can only glean insight from what’s already happened.
Vance Worley was a solid, but unspectacular starting pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies. Injuries derailed his career, but the right-handed hurler righted the ship with the Pirates in 2014. Just 27, fantasy baseball owners want to know if he has staying power. Can Pittsburgh’s reclamation project be counted on as rotation depth in dynasty and keeper leagues?
Mike Newman’s piece on T.J. House emphasizes the opportunity for dynasty fantasy owners as the regular season nears completion: adding assets for 2015 on the cheap. Logging more than 20 starts this season for just the third time in his career, Clay Buchholz has been remarkably less effective than he was in 2013. On the year, the righty holds a 5.29 ERA, a sharp contrast to his 12-1 campaign with a 1.74 ERA and 7.98 K/9. Despite the warts, Buchholz is exactly the type of pitcher savvy owners acquire at the end of the season. Why is ROTOscouting suggesting a 30-year old injury-prone pitcher as a valuable acquisition for dynasty owners in 2015?
September is here!. Fantasy baseball contenders and pretenders have been determined with lesser teams spending the final month of the season stashing players for a 2015 rebound. In mid-August, ROTOscouting recommended a full court press on Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco. In 25 innings since the piece published, the former top-100 prospect as yielded three earned runs. Today, teammate TJ House comes under the microscope. Is he another Cleveland arm worth stashing now even though he’s never been considered a top prospect?
Yesterday’s part I of the Fantasy Football Creates Fantasy Baseball Opportunity explained how watching the MLB transaction wire reveal under-the-radar opportunities — especially during the “dog days of August” when fantasy players turn their attention to fantasy football drafts. Staying diligent and investigating the transactions of non-contenders is a great place to find fantasy baseball value. However, the focused fantasy owner is able to find value even without a formal “transaction” taking place. An example of this occurred recently.
We are now in the “dog days” of August. The trade deadline has passed and heavy lifting for fantasy baseball is done. The NFL exhibition season is in full swing and it’s time to start thinking fantasy football. ESPN will keep fantasy owners posted on important baseball news (as well as what Johnny Manziel ate for lunch), so put the fantasy baseball team(s) on auto-pilot with confidence, right? Hardly.
From 2007 through 2009, Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco was ranked as one of the top-54 prospects in baseball per Baseball America. At his peak, the right-handed pitcher was the key piece leveraged by the Phillies to acquire Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. Five seasons and a Tommy John surgery later, Carrasco has 15 career wins to his credit and a career FIP of 4.16. His 2.2 WAR is just .5 wins more than Lee’s disappointing 2014 season. However, the Venezuelan native has been strong contributor to Cleveland’s bullpen this season, earning a starting nod on August 10th. Is he a post hype sleeper primed to finally cash in on his promise?
The Year of Tommy John claimed another victim earlier this week when Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was diagnosed with a torn UCL. Two weeks ago in this column, Joe Pytleski identified a potential replacement for Fernandez in the Marlins organization. But FAAB Top Targets has a few other options. This week’s pitchers include two former top prospects that have regained their helium, a Cuban import impacting his team from the mound instead of the plate, a starter who just returned from Tommy John surgery, and a recently recalled Top 100 prospect. In general, all pitchers mentioned in this column are unowned in the majority of CBS, ESPN, and Yahoo fantasy leagues.
MLB Stock Watch: Puello’s down, but can he rebound?Post-hype sleeper in the Cardinals’ outfield? A pitcher on the verge of returning from Tommy John surgery? Five-tool prospect whose stock is down? In the baseball universe, tracking every player’s successes and failures would be a full time job with overtime. For MLB Stock Watch, we’ll do the heavy lifting and identify players with the talent to shine. More importantly, future opportunity will be assessed using MLB depth charts. For a player to be included in the series, talent must meet opportunity because fantasy baseball owners need first crack at the best of what’s next.
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.
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