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Updated: 2017-05-28T17:26:00+00:00

 



AL Notes: Red Sox, Athletics, Indians

2017-05-28T17:26:00+00:00

In the event left-hander David Price falters this year in his return from elbow problems, the playoff-contending Red Sox will be forced to scour the trade market to bolster their rotation, observes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray, Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer represent high-end starters who could end up on…In the event left-hander David Price falters this year in his return from elbow problems, the playoff-contending Red Sox will be forced to scour the trade market to bolster their rotation, observes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray, Gerrit Cole and Chris Archer represent high-end starters who could end up on the move prior to the trade deadline, notes Silverman, who doubts that the Red Sox would be able to put together a deal for any of the four. Even without factoring Cole into the mix, the Red Sox are bullish on the Pirates’ pitching at both the major and minor league levels, according to Silverman. If Boston and Pittsburgh don’t swing a deal, Miami right-hander Dan Straily could also be a possibility, though Silverman is skeptical that the Sox would meet the Marlins’ likely high asking price for him. Conversely, Silverman regards Royals left-hander Jason Vargas as an ideal fit for Boston and Twins righty Ervin Santana as a “perfect bridge-type acquisition.” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Saturday that Vargas and Santana are generating buzz as the trade deadline draws closer. More from Boston and two other American League cities: For the second time this season, a shoulder issue will force Athletics right-hander Kendall Graveman to the disabled list, reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Graveman, who’s dealing with soreness and will head to the DL on Monday, is likely to miss more time than he did when he previously sat out from April 15-26, per Slusser. When on the mound this year, the sinker-throwing Graveman has logged a 3.83 ERA, 6.13 K/9, 2.68 BB/9 and a 50.7 percent ground-ball rate. For now, his spot in the rotation will go to Daniel Mengden, a righty who has spent the year at Triple-A after undergoing offseason foot surgery. Mengden debuted in the majors with 14 starts and 72 innings last year, posting a 6.50 ERA (with a more encouraging 4.34 FIP), and has recorded strong results in the minors this season (2.21 ERA, 8.85 K/9, 2.21 BB/9 in 20 1/3 frames). As expected, the Indians have demoted righty Danny Salazar to the bullpen, the Associated Press was among those to report. Salazar will serve as a relief option for the Tribe beginning Wednesday, but he could start again as early as next week, according to Terry Francona. The manager indicated that Cleveland is placing Salazar in the bullpen to help him regain his confidence. Home runs and walks have been the key contributors to Salazar’s 5.50 ERA, up nearly two full runs from the combined 3.72 mark he put up in 484 1/3 innings from 2013-16. On the positive side, the hard-throwing 27-year-old is second to Chris Sale among starters in K/9 (12.45) and ranks behind only Sale and Max Scherzer in swinging-strike rate (15.4 percent). It looks as though the Red Sox are targeting next weekend for third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s activation from the DL, writes Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com. Upon his return, Sandoval – unavailable since late April because of a right knee sprain – will provide a much-needed option at third for a team that’s dealing with significant injuries to Marco Hernandez and Brock Holt. Boston’s third basemen have been utterly inept this year, having slashed a paltry .231/.281/.316 in 243 plate appearances. Sandoval didn’t look like part of the solution prior to his injury, though, with a .213/.269/.377 showing in 67 trips to the plate. [...]



The Padres’ little victories

2017-05-28T17:00:00+00:00

The San Diego Padres are probably going to finish the season below .500, but there they do have bright moments in a game that can sometimes be overwhelmingly dim. In other words, not everything sucks. The Padres are not great. I know, I know, what a really controversial observation. They have the third-worst record in baseball, sitting pretty at 18-32 after Saturday’s loss to the Nationals. Their staff has the highest HR/FB ratio in the majors (16.5 percent), matched with a roster that’s third in strikeout rate (24.1 percent) and 28th in total runs scored (172). Barring a serious turnaround, the Padres will likely end the season below .500. So how does a team go to the ballpark every day knowing they will more than likely lose? Their manager, Andy Green, says he encourages guys to focus on the little victories. Finding aspects within the game where they excel regardless of whether there’s a W or an L on the board for them at the end of the day. Specifically, he noted: “You have to create something special inside the house so guys will guard their minds, guard their focus and show up every day to play. Without a doubt, it’s a challenge, but a challenge I welcome every single day. ... I wake up and get excited about helping the group of guys I’ve got become the best version of themselves.” I went to the ballpark today and watched Stephen Strasburg strike out 15 Padres over seven innings. As they leave and prepare to return to the ballpark tomorrow, I wonder what they’re focusing on. What is the “good” in a season that sometimes can be just as frustrating as it is amazing? I wanted to find it, so I found just some of the interesting stuff about the Padres offense: Allen Córdoba Last season, the Cardinals stole pitcher Matt Bowman from the Mets as a Rule-5 pick. While they benefited last year, this year they got burned when they left Allen Córdoba exposed. The Padres scooped him up, and all factors considered, he is doing a very good job. In 85 plate appearances, he has made significant contributions, posting a .350 wOBA and 118 wRC+. Now, it is really early, but he was pretty far down in the minors before the Padres had to call him up. He’s riding a relatively high .362 BABIP and is currently listed as a pretty heavy ground ball hitter (he has 47.5 percent grounders versus 30.5 percent fly balls), which works well for someone with his speed. Defensively, the team believes he could be a “super utility” type of player who is equally comfortable at shortstop and center field — to which Córdoba says, “I’m going to give it my all wherever they put me.” No. 3 and Cleanup The Padres have some good, interesting hitters in addition to Córdoba. Their first baseman and primary three-hole hitter, Wil Myers, has the 22nd-highest ISO in the NL (.245). Their second baseman and sometimes cleanup guy, Yangervis Solarte, has the sixth-lowest strikeout rate in baseball (10.2 percent). Ryan Schimpf, their third baseman and also sometimes cleanup guy, is tied for 10th in baseball with a walk rate of 15.5 percent to go along with his .275 ISO, which is good for 13th in the NL. Let’s not forget that Myers hit for the cycle last month! We all sort leaderboards the same way, and I don’t know about you, but I was not expecting to see so many Padres hitters on the first page, especially since Petco Park isn’t exactly a great place to hit. Qualifying top-30 in anything in the major leagues is a hard day’s work done right. Solid baserunning As a Cardinals fan, I appreciate teams who can run the bases without looking like Dora the Explorer minus a map. In Saturday’s game the Padres didn’t do anything stupid, and at the end of the day that seems to be the real secret to baserunning. Fangraphs’ UBR stat discounts speed to focus on good versus bad baserunning decisions and their outcomes. The more calculated the risk, the better the score. There are three[...]



Cardinals Place Kolten Wong On DL, Promote Paul DeJong

2017-05-28T16:32:00+00:00

The Cardinals have placed second baseman Kolten Wong on the 10-day disabled list with a left elbow strain. His roster spot will go to infield prospect Paul DeJong, whose contract has been purchased from Triple-A. [RELATED: Updated Cardinals Depth Chart] After a down season last year in which he lost playing time at the keystone…

The Cardinals have placed second baseman Kolten Wong on the 10-day disabled list with a left elbow strain. His roster spot will go to infield prospect Paul DeJong, whose contract has been purchased from Triple-A.

[RELATED: Updated Cardinals Depth Chart]

After a down season last year in which he lost playing time at the keystone to Jedd Gyorko, Wong created a mini-controversy in March when he expressed unhappiness about being part of a timeshare at second base. The 26-year-old quickly walked back those comments, though, and he and Gyorko have managed to coexist this season. The power-hitting Gyorko has mainly played third base, leaving second to Wong, who has improved offensively this season. Wong has slashed .278/.378/.414 with 18 walks and 20 strikeouts in 157 plate appearances, but the normally adept defender hasn’t been as effective in the field as he has been at the plate (minus-two Defensive Runs Saved, minus-12.7 UZR/150).

With Wong on the shelf, Gyorko and Greg Garcia present the Cardinals’ most logical options to fill in at second. Those two, along with Jhonny Peralta and DeJong, also offer options at the hot corner. DeJong, 23, is only two years removed from going to the Cardinals in the fourth round of the draft. He now ranks as the Redbirds’ 11th-best prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, which classifies the potential shortstop’s power as “legitimate.” DeJong has shown off that power at Triple-A this year, having swatted 11 home runs and posted a .247 ISO in 182 trips to the plate. Overall, the righty-swinger has batted a strong .294/.331/.541, though his walk and strikeout rates (4.4 percent and 24.7 percent, respectively) could certainly stand to improve.

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Two-Start Pitchers 2017: May 29 – June 4: Ranking The Options & Finding Those Worthy (Tyler Anderson & More)

2017-05-28T16:15:00+00:00

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) It’s Memorial Day weekend, and by now you have gained a feel for where your team sits in the hierarchy of your league.  Do you need to start taking a few more risks when setting your lineup?  Do youby Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) It’s Memorial Day weekend, and by now you have gained a feel for where your team sits in the hierarchy of your league.  Do you need to start taking a few more risks when setting your lineup?  Do you need to maximize your chances in terms of strikeouts and wins?  Finding a high upside two-start pitcher can certainly help, so let’s take a look at the options this week and determine who can be trusted and who should be ignored:   Tier 1 – The Elite Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox – at CWS, at Bal Carlos Carrasco – Cleveland Indians – vs. Oak, at KC You can argue that Carlos Carrasco has had some luck on his side this season (.241 BABIP), but he continues to show strikeouts (8.95 K/9) and control (2.31 BB/9) while drawing two of the worst offense in the AL (in fact, entering play on Friday they were the two lowest scoring teams)…   Tier 2 – The Nearly Elite Kyle Hendricks – Chicago Cubs – at SD, vs. Stl Robbie Ray – Arizona Diamondbacks – at Pit, at Mia Kyle Hendricks isn’t having the same type of season that he did a year ago, but we all knew that was coming.  That said he’s showing his trademark command (2.19 BB/9) and has cut his home run rate (0.73 HR/9) in May.  Couple that with a start against the Padres and it’s impossible not to consider him among the better options in the league…   Tier 3 – The Solid Options Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays – vs. Cin, vs. NYY Luis Severino – New York Yankees – at Bal, at Tor Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves – at LAA, at Cin Tyler Anderson – Colorado Rockies – vs. Sea, at SD Tanner Roark – Washington Nationals – at SF, at Oak Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles – vs. NYY, vs. Bos These could be two tough matchups for Luis Severino, but he’s actually been better on the road thanks to yielding fewer home runs (0.75 HR/9 vs. 1.45).  Of course both the Orioles and Blue Jays can take him deep, but with the way he’s been pitching it’s impossible to sit him…   Seeing Tyler Anderson in this tier is likely a surprise, but look at his May numbers (2.55 ERA, 32 K over 24.2 IP).  Now couple that with a start in San Diego and matchup with the Mariners, who own the worst SLG against left-handed pitchers in the league by a healthy margin (.290).  It all adds up to a must start option…  Julio Teheran hasn’t been great this season, but all of his struggles have come at home (8.40 ERA).  He owns a 0.71 ERA on the road, and with neither offense likely to scare you he’s an extremely good play…   Tier 4 – The Not Quite Must Play, But Nearly Options Ervin Santana – Los Angeles Angels – vs. Hou, at LAA Jose Berrios – Minnesota Twins – vs. Hou, at LAA Sonny Gray – Oakland A’s – at Cle, vs. Was Kenta Maeda – Los Angeles Dodgers – at Stl, at Mil Trevor Bauer – Cleveland Indians – vs. Oak, at KC Mike Leake – St. Louis Cardinals – vs. LAD, at CHC Jose Quintana – Chicago White Sox – vs. Bos, at Det Don’t ignore the risk involved in utilizing Jose Berrios, especially with the start against the Astros, but with the way he’s hit the ground running it’s nearly impossible to consider him as anything but a must start…  Ervin Santana has been spectacular in ’17 (1.80 ERA, 0.83 WHIP), but it’s also impossible to think that he can maintain these numbers (.136 BABIP, 91.5% strand rate).  You are going to use him i[...]



Minor MLB Transactions: 5/28/17

2017-05-28T15:50:00+00:00

Sunday’s minor moves from around baseball: The Red Sox have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Blaine Boyer from Triple-A and optioned left-hander Brian Johnson, per a team announcement. Boyer joined the Red Sox on a minor league contract in the latter half of April and has since thrown 14 1/3 innings with Pawtucket, where…

Sunday’s minor moves from around baseball:

  • The Red Sox have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Blaine Boyer from Triple-A and optioned left-hander Brian Johnson, per a team announcement. Boyer joined the Red Sox on a minor league contract in the latter half of April and has since thrown 14 1/3 innings with Pawtucket, where he has allowed five earned runs on 12 hits and seven walks (with 12 strikeouts). Boston is the eighth major league destination for the 35-year-old Boyer, who has recently generated quality results at baseball’s highest level despite having issues missing bats. As a member of the Padres, Twins and Brewers from 2014-16, the soft contact specialist logged a 3.31 ERA in 171 1/3 frames and helped offset a subpar K/9 (4.63) with an above-average BB/9 (2.31) and a respectable ground-ball percentage (47.1).
  • The Mariners announced Sunday that they’ve selected righty reliever Ryne Harper’s contract from Triple-A and optioned fellow righty Robert Whalen. The 28-year-old Harper could be in line to throw his first major league pitch after working in the minors since the Braves chose him in the 37th round of the 2011 draft. Atlanta sent Harper to Seattle in 2015 in exchange for reliever Jose Ramirez, and the former has been quite effective with the Mariners organization since the trade. Harper posted a 2.51 ERA, 12.57 K/9, 3.31 BB/9 and a 53.3 percent ground-ball rate in 68 Double-A innings last year. He has also been productive this year in his first taste of Triple-A action, having registered a 1.89 ERA, 11.37 K/9, 4.26 BB/9 and a 39.5 percent grounder rate in 19 frames.
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Nationals Sign Sean O’Sullivan To Minors Deal

2017-05-28T15:07:00+00:00

The Nationals have signed right-hander Sean O’Sullivan to a minor league contract, according to a team announcement. The 29-year-old O’Sullivan is returning from Korea, where he opened the season with the Nexen Heroes of the hitter-friendly KBO and allowed 14 earned runs on 17 hits in just eight innings. O’Sullivan hasn’t been anywhere near that…

The Nationals have signed right-hander Sean O’Sullivan to a minor league contract, according to a team announcement.

The 29-year-old O’Sullivan is returning from Korea, where he opened the season with the Nexen Heroes of the hitter-friendly KBO and allowed 14 earned runs on 17 hits in just eight innings. O’Sullivan hasn’t been anywhere near that woeful stateside, though his numbers in the majors and at Triple-A still aren’t great. He most recently appeared in the big leagues last season with the Red Sox, logging five appearances and four starts. O’Sullivan pitched to a 6.75 ERA, with 5.48 K/9, 2.53 BB/9 and a 36.5 percent ground-ball rate, in 21 1/3 innings with Boston. The journeyman’s career numbers aren’t all that different, as O’Sullivan has logged a 6.01 ERA, 4.39 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 40.1 grounder mark during a 323 2/3-inning span in which he has also seen action with the Angels, Royals, Padres and Phillies.

As a Triple-A hurler, O’Sullivan owns a passable 4.25 ERA and strikeout and walk rates of 6.2 and 2.7, respectively, in 796 1/3 frames.

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The Houston Astros are onto something

2017-05-28T15:00:00+00:00

The Astros are striking out hitters and missing bats at record-setting rates. How? You might not have noticed, but the Houston Astros have a type — relief pitchers who can get batters to swing and miss at pitches. That sounds simple, because it is. Every team wants their bullpen stocked with swing-and-miss pitchers! Even if you have the best defense on the planet, nothing can beat the nice breeze sent toward the mound after a whiff. It is, as they say, the good stuff. It is the stuff that the Houston Astros have done at an extraordinary rate in 2017. As a bullpen, the Astros have the highest swinging-strike rate (14.9 percent) since recording of that type of thing began. To this point in the season, they also have the highest bullpen strikeout rate (31.1 percent) in recorded history — and by a healthy margin. If you consider the MLB average strikeout rate for relievers, 23.2 percent, only one Astros reliever currently in the bullpen doesn’t reach this mark — Tony Sipp. This isn’t surprising. Whiffs breed strikeouts, that part makes sense. The more you miss bats, the more likely you will be able to do it with two strikes. But consider this: That bullpen strikeout rate record they are currently beating? It is their own, a mark they set last season. They have been able to do this for two consecutive seasons, which sticks out to me as something that might allude to a larger trend. What have the Astros discovered in their bullpen that others have not? Let’s get a whiff of those, uh, whiffs — and their plate discipline data in general. As you would expect of a team setting the record in cool breezes of air, the Astros bullpen is great at limiting contact. Its 70.3 percent mark last season and 67.5 percent mark this season represent the two lowest bullpen contact rates ever measured in professional baseball. But, like I said, you knew that. Whiffs = less contact. Whiffs are good. What stands out here is the remarkable rate at which Astros relievers have gotten hitters to whiff on pitches outside the strike zone this year: Oh yeah, and over that span the Astros lead the majors in getting swings on pitches outside the strike zone (33.4 percent). The Astros this season have gotten swings outside the strike zone at a lower rate than last, but they have countered that by drawing even smaller amounts of contact. One thing is for certain: This is odd. For a team to excel at getting cuts that come up empty on pitches outside the zone as much as the Astros have, it points to something. If you recall some work done by Eno Sarris, and another article written by Harry Pavlidis, sliders generate more swings and misses than any other pitch. The reason I brought that up is, well, the Astros are throwing a massive amount of sliders, and an absurdly low amount of fastballs. And it isn’t just happening in a vacuum — this has been something they have done more and more each year: The MLB average usage rate for pitchers to this point in the season is 57 percent. Looking at Houston’s relievers who have thrown more than 10 innings this season and aren’t now a starter (looking at you, Brad Peacock), only one pitcher obtains a fastball usage rate over that mark — Michael Feliz (72.4 percent). Even Ken Giles, who joins Feliz in being the only other Astros reliever with above-MLB average heat, has devoted a higher percentage of his pitch usage to sliders than fastballs. MLB-wide fastball usage for bullpens has fallen every year since 2012, despite a surge of pitch velocity in recent years. You would think hitters would struggle against higher velocity; however, Russell Carelton described a couple weeks ago why that might not be the case: Consider the lament that started 10 years ago. Baseball was being over-run by pitchers, relievers especially, who threw really fast fastballs. Well, if you know that a lot of the pi[...]



Tigers Designate Tyler Collins

2017-05-28T14:41:00+00:00

The Tigers have designated outfielder Tyler Collins for assignment and selected the contract of fellow outfielder Alex Presley from Triple-A, per a team announcement. Collins, a member of the Detroit organization since it selected him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, ranks sixth among Tigers in plate appearances this year, but he hasn’t…

The Tigers have designated outfielder Tyler Collins for assignment and selected the contract of fellow outfielder Alex Presley from Triple-A, per a team announcement.

Collins, a member of the Detroit organization since it selected him in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, ranks sixth among Tigers in plate appearances this year, but he hasn’t been productive in those 146 trips. The out-of-options 26-year-old has slashed a meek .200/.288/.338 with four home runs and a 31.5 percent strikeout rate (with an 11.5 percent walk rate), giving him a 72 wRC+ that’s significantly worse than his unspectacular career mark (87) across 529 PAs. On the other hand, Collins has bounced back from subpar 2016 in center field, having accounted for three Defensive Runs Saved and a 2.8 UZR/150 over a small sample size of 169 innings. In the event someone trades for Collins – which manager Brad Ausmus indicated is a possibility (via Evan Woodbery of MLive.com, on Twitter) – that team could control him for the long haul, as he’s not eligible for arbitration until 2019 and won’t become a free agent until 2022.

Presley first joined the Tigers on a minor league pact last July, but he only picked up at-bats with the club and was designated for assignment in late August. The 31-year-old re-signed with the organization on another minors pact over the winter and is now in line to make his Detroit debut. Presley has not performed well offensively at Triple-A this year (.213/.278/.303 in 171 PAs), however, and has also scuffled in the majors. In 1,239 combined plate trips with the Tigers, Pirates, Twins, Astros and Brewers, Presley has batted .253/.295/.382. The lefty-swinger will take Collins’ place as a third center field option to join right-handers JaCoby Jones and Mikie Mahtook, both of whom have offered uninspiring production this year.

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Better Building Block: Aaron Judge Or Michael Conforto?

2017-05-28T14:19:00+00:00

If the first couple months of the major league season are any indication, two of baseball’s best hitters are emerging in New York. In the Bronx, there’s Yankees right fielder and American League Rookie of the Year front-runner Aaron Judge; in Queens, Mets outfielder Michael Conforto has rebounded from an underwhelming 2016 to fare even…If the first couple months of the major league season are any indication, two of baseball’s best hitters are emerging in New York. In the Bronx, there’s Yankees right fielder and American League Rookie of the Year front-runner Aaron Judge; in Queens, Mets outfielder Michael Conforto has rebounded from an underwhelming 2016 to fare even better than he did during his sensational rookie campaign in 2015. Given that Judge looked lost during his first big league stint last season, his success this year has come as a bigger surprise than Conforto’s. The 6-foot-7, 275-pound behemoth did notch four home runs in only 95 plate appearances, but that came with an alarming strikeout rate (44.2 percent) and a horrid .179/.263/.345 batting line. To his credit, though, the 25-year-old Judge worked prior to the season on cutting down his strikeouts and making more contact, as FanGraphs’ Travis Sawchik detailed earlier this month, and the results have been excellent. Everything is trending right for Judge – his strikeout rate is down to a manageable 29 percent; his contact rate has shot up exactly 10 points (from 60.2 percent to 70.2 percent); his walk rate has climbed from 9.8 percent to a terrific 14.2 percent; his out-of-strike zone swing rate has fallen from 33.6 percent to 25.5 percent; and his swinging-strike rate is at 12.4 percent after sitting at 18.1 percent last year. All of Judge’s gains have helped lead to a .316/.421/.665 line in 183 PAs – not to mention a first-place start for the Yankees – and he currently ranks third in the majors in both wRC+ (192, trailing only Mike Trout and Freddie Freeman) and isolated power (.348, again behind only Trout and Freeman), and second in home runs (15, one behind Trout and tied for second with Bryce Harper). While an unsustainable .391 batting average on balls in play has propped up Judge’s numbers, his production still looks legitimate when factoring in the degree to which he has punished baseballs. Judge’s expected weighted on-base average, which uses exit velocity and launch angle to gauge a hitter’s performance, is sitting at .427 – not far below his actual wOBA of .450 – per Baseball Savant. As great as Judge has been offensively, he has also held his own with the glove, ranking fifth among outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved (seven, behind well-known defensive wizards Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Kevin Kiermaier and Byron Buxton) and a respectable 34th among 70 qualifiers in UZR/150 (2.7). Conforto, meanwhile, hasn’t been on Judge’s level defensively (a combined minus-one DRS and minus-5.2 UZR/150 at all three outfield positions); however, as Judge has been this season, Conforto was outstanding with the glove during his rookie year (nine DRS, 26.5 UZR/150), so there’s reason for hope going forward. Regardless, the bulk of the 24-year-old Conforto’s value will always come from his bat, and the lefty-swinger has done his best to match the right-handed Judge and keep the woebegone Mets afloat this season. Conforto, after hitting a so-so .220/.310/.414 in 348 major league PAs last season and even earning a minor league demotion, is now sitting at .322/.416/.658 with 13 homers and a 13.3 percent walk rate (against a strikeout percentage of 24.9) in 173 trips to the plate this year. He ranks fifth in the majors in ISO (.336) and sixth in wRC+ (178), and while he’s also running a BABIP (.370) that won’t la[...]



FanDuel MLB Cheat Sheet: Sunday, May 28th

2017-05-28T14:03:00+00:00

Hello Fake Baseballers! Are you ready for another six months of the daily baseball grind? I know I am. And…Hello Fake Baseballers! Are you ready for another six months of the daily baseball grind? I know I am. And…(image)



DraftKings Cheat Sheet, Sunday, May 28th

2017-05-28T14:02:00+00:00

Hello Fake Baseballers! Are you ready for another six months of the daily baseball grind? I know I am. And…Hello Fake Baseballers! Are you ready for another six months of the daily baseball grind? I know I am. And…(image)



Astros Place Charlie Morton On DL

2017-05-28T13:56:00+00:00

The Astros are sending right-hander Charlie Morton to the 10-day disabled list with a lat strain, per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (Twitter link). There’s no timetable for Morton’s return, and the club will recall righty Jordan Jankowski to take his place for now. The DL is nothing new for Morton, who has had durability issues…The Astros are sending right-hander Charlie Morton to the 10-day disabled list with a lat strain, per Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (Twitter link). There’s no timetable for Morton’s return, and the club will recall righty Jordan Jankowski to take his place for now. The DL is nothing new for Morton, who has had durability issues throughout his career and missed nearly all of last season as a member of the Phillies on account of a torn hamstring. Health concerns didn’t stop the Astros from handing Morton a two-year, $14MM contract in free agency last offseason, though, and the results have been encouraging – injury notwithstanding. The 33-year-old has been the Astros’ third-best starter, trailing the ace-caliber efforts of Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, with a 4.06 ERA, 10.14 K/9, 3.59 BB/9 and a 51.3 percent ground-ball rate in 57 2/3 innings. Morton’s solid output has come thanks in part to a notable increase in velocity, as he’s now averaging 96-plus mph on his fastball – up from 95 in 2016 and the 92 to 94 range in previous years. For now, though, Morton’s campaign will come to a halt, and it could be a for a while if others’ lat strains are any indication. To cite recent examples, Athletics righty Sonny Gray didn’t make his season debut until May 2 after suffering a lat strain in early March, and Angels reliever Huston Street hasn’t pitched yet this year after succumbing to a lat strain around the same time as Gray. Meanwhile, a more severe injury (a torn lat) has shelved Mets ace Noah Syndergaard for a few weeks and will keep him out until after the All-Star break. Before losing Morton, the Astros were set to at least temporarily demote the scuffling Mike Fiers from their rotation in favor of Brad Peacock. Now, those two could be in line to join Keuchel, McCullers and Joe Musgrove in the starting five for the foreseeable future (alternatively, the Astros could move reliever Chris Devenski to the rotation, but that would take away an elite bullpen weapon). Unfortunately for Houston, top Triple-A options Francis Martes and David Paulino have started slowly this year, and Brady Rodgers underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month. At the big league level, mid-rotation starter Collin McHugh has missed the entire season with an elbow injury and won’t return anytime soon. On the bright side, the 34-16 Astros have built a whopping nine-game lead in the American League West. As such, it’s unlikely they’ll make any major moves to bolster their rotation with the trade deadline still two months away.[...]



The Daily Grind: Eleven Games of Destiny

2017-05-28T13:50:00+00:00

Welcome to the weekend Grind. Prices listed are for FanDuel AGENDA Weather Reports Pitchers to Use and Abuse Hitters to Use SaberSim Says… 1. Weather Reports Storms could ruin your day in Cleveland, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. The latter game is the lone night contest so you weren’t going to be using it anyway. 2. Pitchers […]Welcome to the weekend Grind. Prices listed are for FanDuel AGENDA Weather Reports Pitchers to Use and Abuse Hitters to Use SaberSim Says… 1. Weather Reports Storms could ruin your day in Cleveland, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. The latter game is the lone night contest so you weren’t going to be using it anyway. 2. Pitchers to Use and Abuse FanDuel is being strange about the slates. You can opt to play the “main” which unnecessarily excludes games in Colorado, Los Angeles, San Francisco. Or you can play an “all day” contest with everything. Main Slate: If we’re to ignore those left coast games, then we’re left without an ace. The Los Angeles game is especially ace-ish with Jon Lester versus Clayton Kershaw. That’s a promising matchup. In the early afternoon, our top options are Rick Porcello hosting the Mariners, the Athletics at Michael Pineda, and Lance McCullers at home against the Orioles. Despite a 4.35 ERA, Rick Porcello has superb peripherals. He’s inducing more whiffs than ever. I consider him one of the top buy low assets in the league. A .354 BABIP and elevated home run rate are to blame for his ERA. I warn you every week about McCullers. His most recent outing was a great example. He pitched just five innings despite allowing only one hit and two walks with five strikeouts. He’s a high effort pitcher who has yet to figure out how to trade a few strikeouts for easy early count outs. Chris Sale used to be like this. Some of you think Michael Pineda is having his break out season. I’m not seeing it. Yeah, sure, the 3.35 ERA finally lines up with the peripherals. He’s still relying heavily on a bad fastball and an elite slider. Put him in relief and he could challenge Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, and Kenley Jansen for top reliever status. As a starter, he’s a 4.00 ERA guy. Any individual outings always comes with a low floor and an insane ceiling. Pineda is opposed by Andrew Triggs. The righty has been a steady source of production, although it’s always risky to depend upon an unestablished player to remain stable. An Oakland stack including Triggs is a sneaky contrarian play today. If you’re digging deeper, Joe Ross is facing just about the only team against whom I’d recommend him – the Padres. They’re extremely strikeout prone and all-around bad. Scott Feldman has thrown a couple random 52 point totals. The Phillies offense is known to roll over – especially the Sunday crew. Stack Targets: Kyle Gibson, Alec Asher, Christian Bergman, Joe Biagini, Jhoulys Chacin, Zach Eflin, Andrew Cashner, Jose Urena, Pat Corbin, Jordan Zimmermann 3. Hitters to Use Evan Gattis, Jose Altuve, George Springer, and the rest of the Astros are opposed by mediocre reliever Alec Asher. That should be interesting. It’s also another reason to use McCullers. Feldman is exactly the sort of mediocre ground ball pitcher against whom Tommy Joseph thrives. Yesterday, for the second time in three days, he provided a crucial home run and a walkoff hit. Other Phillies are usable too. Paul Goldschmidt at Miller Park is completely unfair. Not that Chase Field is pitcher friendly. Lamb goes well with Gold. Alex Cobb occasionally makes mistakes over the plate. He’ll try to throw a tempting split-change and accidentally hang it. Any such mistake ve[...]



Norris able to pitch a day after injury scare, Harris records save

2017-05-28T13:29:00+00:00

Closer Monkey - Instant emails for every closer change. Closer depth charts to keep you ahead. May 28, 2017 Los Angeles Angels — Bud Norris was able to pitch on Saturday, just a day after leaving the game with a knee injury.  The knee appears to be fine for Norris so he should continue to see saves for now.  Huston Street threw another perfect inning at Triple … Continue reading The post Norris able to pitch a day after injury scare, Harris records save appeared first on Closer Monkey.Closer Monkey - Instant emails for every closer change. Closer depth charts to keep you ahead. May 28, 2017 Los Angeles Angels — Bud Norris was able to pitch on Saturday, just a day after leaving the game with a knee injury.  The knee appears to be fine for Norris so he should continue to see saves for now.  Huston Street threw another perfect inning at Triple -A, and looks to be on track to return from the DL around the time he becomes eligible on June 1st. Hierarchy remains: Norris | Hernandez | Parker. Houston Astros – Will Harris pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts to pick up his second save of the year.  Ken Giles got the day off after pitching in two straight. Updated hierarchy: Giles | Harris | Devenski. Los Angeles Dodgers — The three inning save seems to be trendy this year, as Ross Stripling was the latest reliever to pick one up on Saturday night.  Stripling has pitched well in relief for the Dodgers this year, but he is currently being used mostly in middle and long relief for now. Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Baez | Fields. VULTURE SAVE WATCH Today 1. David Hernandez – Bud Norris has pitched in two straight and the Angels might rest him and his knee on Sunday. 2. Shawn Kelley – Koda Glover has appeared in two straight games and has yet to go in three straight this season. Monday 1. Alex Wilson – Justin Wilson threw 32 pitches on Saturday so if he has another high pitch count on Sunday he would likely get Monday off 2. Joakim Soria/Mike Minor – Kelvin Herrera has pitched in two straight.  Soria has also gone in two straight so if they both pitch Sunday, Minor could get the call on Monday. 3. Fernando Salas – If Addison Reed pitches on Sunday, that will be four of five. 4. Tyler Clippard – Delin Betances got five outs for the save on Saturday and could get Monday off if he pitches again Sunday. 5. Joe Smith/Ryan Tepera – Roberto Osuna, Smith and Tepera have all pitched in two straight so whoever gets Sunday off would like get the save chance on Monday if necessary. The post Norris able to pitch a day after injury scare, Harris records save appeared first on Closer Monkey.[...]



The Reds have an underrated left side of the infield

2017-05-28T13:00:01+00:00

Eugenio Suarez and Zack Cozart are proving to be a pretty capable pair. Thus far, the Cincinnati Reds have been a pleasant surprise. By pleasant surprise, I mean they’re not a pile of hot garbage, but that still counts. In large part, this is due to offensive production, as the Reds rank first in fWAR from position players and 28th in fWAR from pitchers. Zack Cozart and Eugenio Suarez have been a huge part in helping the Reds both succeed offensively and mitigate the damage done by their pitching. Cozart has always been lauded as a defensive-minded shortstop. For the first three years of his career, Cozart’s wRC+ ranged from 56 to 83, yet he still produced positive win totals by every mainstream WAR metric. Cozart has simply proven to be one of the best defenders at his position year in and year out. In addition to that, he was Dusty Baker’s favorite source of bunts from the second spot in the order. Suarez was acquired by the Reds in the offseason preceding the 2015 season. In that deal, the Reds sent Alfredo Simon to the Tigers for Jonathon Crawford and Suarez. At the time, Crawford was the gem of the deal. Following a strong career at the University of Florida, Crawford was selected in the first round by the Tigers and was their No. 2 prospect. Suarez was seen as more of a middle infield depth player. After being given the starting third base job in 2016, Suarez is now in his second full year starting at that position, whereas Crawford is still in High A. Cozart and Suarez have been, along with Joey Votto, the best position players in Cincinnati this year. It’s no surprise that Votto is posting a .411 wOBA and currently sits at 2.3 bWARP. However, Cozart and Suarez are keeping pace with him. The pair come in at 2.2 and 2.3 bWARP respectively, with their wOBAs at .409 and .395. Keeping pace with one of the best offensive first basemen is an impressive feat for anyone, much less a glove-minded shortstop and a 25-year-old third baseman. Both are in line for some regression — Cozart more so, with his .395 BABIP compared to Suarez’ .339. However, there’s reason to believe in the improvement. On Cozart’s end, there have been some sign that his offensive profile has improved. Compared to his first three seasons, Cozart’s past two seasons have been a revelation. In an injury-shortened 2015 season, he tallied a 105 wRC+ to go along with a 91 wRC+ last year. That’s a massive improvement from the downward spiral from 83 to 56 he had in his first few years. Combining a near average offensive profile with Cozart’s strong defense yielded 2.5 fWAR last year in 121 games. More progression pushes him in with some of the more lauded shortstops. In addition to that, he’s become a much more patient hitter this year. His strikeout rate has held steady around 17 percent, but his walk rate has jumped up to 12.7 percent. This adds the depth to his offensive profile that he lacked prior to 2017, when his walk rate never rose above 7.3 percent. As for Suarez, he made a very tangible change going into this season. His swing is much different. My colleague, Joe Clarkin, went over his change in April, and it’s clear that the effects may be lasting. The massive spike in ISO has sustained through this month, and with where Suarez sits with his launch angle, it’s no surprise. Baseball Savant With the season almost being through May, the two have stacked up incredibly well with their competition. Cozart is first in wOBA, wRC+, fWAR, and bWARP among shortstops, whereas Suarez is top six in both wOBA and wRC+ and third in both bWARP and fWAR. As a pair, they’re primarily rivaled[...]



Roto Riteup May 28, 2017

2017-05-28T13:00:00+00:00

The New York Mets have turned into the poster child of bad luck this season. I wish I had good news for you Mets fans, but when it comes to La Potencia, he’s facing yet another setback. Yoenis Cespedes felt some soreness in his right quad while running the bases during his rehab assignment in […]The New York Mets have turned into the poster child of bad luck this season. I wish I had good news for you Mets fans, but when it comes to La Potencia, he’s facing yet another setback. Yoenis Cespedes felt some soreness in his right quad while running the bases during his rehab assignment in Class-A and he was removed from the lineup. He hasn’t played on the active roster since the end of April. On the Agenda News and Notes Adjusting Astros Moose Fare thee well News and Notes –Corey Kluber will be coming back to the Cleveland Indians Thursday after being sidelined since the beginning of May with a lower back strain. There could be a change in the pitching situation with Danny Salazar heading to the bullpen with the return of the former Cy Young Award winner. –Brandon McCarthy exited the game Saturday with knee tendinitis and is receiving an MRI. –Dallas Keuchel improves to 8-0 (because you care about pitcher wins, right?) following a neck irritation where he refused to land on the D.L. He faired well against the White Sox striking out 11 over 6.3 innings. –Huston Street threw a scoreless inning in his Triple-A rehab assignment tallying up two strikeouts. Astros Adjustments It looks likes the Indians aren’t the only team making some adjustments in their rotation. The Houston Astros are making some changes in Mike Fiers (don’t worry it’s nothing physical…or personal.) He was supposed to get the go ahead on Monday in Minnesota, but he will be heading to the bullpen while Brad Peacock takes over starting responsibilities. Peacock isn’t a stranger to the starting role, but he’s been tremendous coming out of the bullpen this season hosting a 0.87 ERA with a 13.05 K/9 rating and he’s given up just eight hits facing 82 batters. The 29-year-old started against Detroit Monday where he threw 4.1 scoreless innings. Moose Mike Moustakas continues to hit the ball following a 3-for-4 night against the Indians Saturday which assisted in the win. He’s also now hit a ball over the fence three out of his last four games. He’s holding on to a .260/.297/.526 line with 13 home runs and 26 RBI. His strikeout rate has raised slightly from last season, but he’s on his way to matching his career-high ISO he left behind him in 2016. He suffered a torn ACL last season and only appeared in 27 games, but after coming back slowly, he managed to continuously show signs of improvement as the season progresses. Despite having a lot of digressing offense surrounding him, he still remains a top bat on the Royals. *** Fare Thee Well Well, folks, this is it. This is my final Roto Riteup. After this, you’ll have to read my Ryan Goins #hottakes elsewhere (but since we are on the subject and you more than likely benefit from the heads up, you can now drop him if you want.) The people at FanGraphs have been wonderful and I have learned a lot and am so grateful for the opportunity.    [...]



Launch angles — May 28, 2017

2017-05-28T12:00:01+00:00

All the baseball nuggets you need to start your day. The MLB season lasts half the year, and it can be hard for the average fan to keep up. That’s where we come in. Every day during the 2017 regular season, Beyond the Box Score will be recapping all the biggest action from the previous day — with a sabermetric slant, of course — and looking ahead to what today will bring. Yesterday’s biggest play Jose Bautista smacks a go-ahead three-run homer — +.369 WPA GIF via MLB.com No two teams have disappointed this year as much as the Rangers and Blue Jays. (Or, rather, no two American League teams — because, woof, those Giants.) Heading into Saturday’s action, Texas was 24-25, Toronto 22-26. But the Jays won the first game of the series on Friday, and yesterday they reigned supreme as well. Shin-Soo Choo led off the game with a home run, and no one scored again for the first four innings. Yu Darvish ran into trouble in the fifth, though, as a walk and a single put runners on the corners with two outs. Robinson Chirinos called for a slider low and away to goad Bautista into chasing for strike one, but the Rangers ace couldn’t hit his spot: Image via Brooks Baseball Vladimir Lenin once said (something along the lines of), “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” A similar axiom applies to baseball — there are entire innings where nothing happens, and singular pitches where games happen. Just look at this WPA graph: Image via FanGraphs No other play in the game cracked .100 WPA, in either direction. Erase the hanging curveball, and this was a 1-0 pitcher’s duel, where Darvish bested Marco Estrada. But thanks to Bautista’s swing, the Jays moved one step closer to a comeback year, while the Rangers moved one step back toward irrelevancy. Yesterday’s best game score Brian Johnson — 92 GIF via MLB.com Game Score was developed by Bill James as a quick way to evaluate a starting pitcher’s performance. The score begins at 50, with points added for outs and strikeouts, and subtracted for walks, hits, and runs. A score of 70 is very good; a score of 90 is outstanding. My goodness, what a day for pitching! Adam Wainwright had a Game Score of 80, never an easy feat when facing the Rockies in Coors Field. Chase Anderson notched an 85 after he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against his former team. Stephen Strasburg put up an 89 versus the Padres, striking out 15 hitters and giving a middle finger to my colleague Henry Druschel. The pitching crown of the day, however, went to Johnson. The lefty threw — and this is not a typo, unless both MLB.com and ESPN deceive me — 85 of his 109 pitches for strikes against the Mariners, which helped him rack up eight strikeouts without issuing a free pass. Limiting Seattle to five hits, he cruised through nine innings en route to a shutout in his third career start. M’s hitters were aggressive against the heat, swinging at 41 of the 67 four-seamers Johnson threw. That worked well for him, since those fastballs were overwhelmingly up in the zone: Image via Baseball Savant Together with some curveballs down, and the occasional changeup and slider, those four-seamers were too much for the Mariners to handle. Seattle went 5-for-24 on balls in play, including 0-for-10 on fly balls, against this approach. Johnson’s complete-game victory was good enough for a Gatorade shower... GIF via MLB.com ...but not enough for a permanent roster spot. If he wants to stick around, he’ll have to [...]



Bullpen Notes: May 27, 2017: Are Wilson/Reed Losing Roles, Glover Emerging & More

2017-05-28T12:00:00+00:00

Are you following @Rotoprofessor on Twitter? If not you should be, as we Tweet out all the important bullpen notes every morning from the previous day’s games. Who is in jeopardy of losing their job? Who is worth the speculative add? Here are this morningAre you following @Rotoprofessor on Twitter? If not you should be, as we Tweet out all the important bullpen notes every morning from the previous day’s games. Who is in jeopardy of losing their job? Who is worth the speculative add? Here are this morning tweets (Please note we won’t be posting these on the website every day, so make sure you follow @Rotoprofessor to ensure you don’t miss a thing): DET: J Wilson nearly implodes in non-SV (3 R/4 H/3 K). Worth wondering if could lose role, w/A Wilson next up #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 PIT: Watson gets W but makes it interesting (2 H). w/1.64 WHIP may take 1 more implosion to get Rivero opps #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 WAS: Glover w/perfect IP for SV. Owns 0.00 ERA/0.97 WHIP/7 K/3 SV since return. Risk but may never lose role #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 NYM: Reed w/BSV (1 R/3 H) & has struggled in last 2 games (2 R/5 H/1 BB). No alternative so safe for now #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 STL: Oh gets SV & while he’s been used sparingly (2 appearances) has pitched well since last struggle & safe #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 SF: Melancon needs 4 pitches to get final 2 outs & earn SV (after Law made interesting w/1 R/2 H/1 BB/0.2 IP) #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 MIL: Feliz struggles w/large lead (1 R/2 H/1 BB). No reason to think Knebel will lose role at this point #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 HOU: w/Giles getting day off Harris w/perfect IP (2 K) for SV. Proves that is indeed next up if need arises #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 KC: Another strong outing for Herrera (1 H/2 K/SV). Continue watching Soria in case of trade but that’s all #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 NYY: Betances gets 5 out SV, w/3 K in the process. In 5.1 IP since moved into role has 1 H/0 BB/10 K/5 SV #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 TOR: Osuna w/another SV & now has 21 K vs. 2 BB on year. Remember when there were some early season concerns? #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 LAA: He did allow HR but good to see Norris on the mound after being pulled day before. Time will tell though #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 CWS: Another dominant performance from Robertson (2 K, 6 K/4.0 IP in past 3). Question is when trade comes #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 MIN: Kintzler gets SV (1 R/1 H/1 K). No concern & continues as one of safest (yet unspectacular) options #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 28, 2017 Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings: PositionPosted CatcherApril 25 First BaseApril 26 Second BaseMay 1 Third BaseMay 4 ShortstopMay 8 Outfield-- Starting Pitcher-- Relief Pitcher-- [...]



White Sox Yolmer Sanchez Deep League Dart Throw: Waiver Wire

2017-05-28T11:56:00+00:00

Yolmer Sanchez has hit his way into starting duties for the White Sox. But, can fantasy owners consider him a deep league waiver wire? The White Sox came into the 2017 season with their eyes towards a rebuilding effort. They currently sit four games under .500. but remain a scrappy team nonetheless. While they lack […]

White Sox Yolmer Sanchez Deep League Dart Throw: Waiver Wire - Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks - Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks - Practical and useful fantasy baseball advice and analysis.

Yolmer Sanchez has hit his way into starting duties for the White Sox. But, can fantasy owners consider him a deep league waiver wire? The White Sox came into the 2017 season with their eyes towards a rebuilding effort. They currently sit four games under .500. but remain a scrappy team nonetheless. While they lack […]

White Sox Yolmer Sanchez Deep League Dart Throw: Waiver Wire - Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks - Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks - Practical and useful fantasy baseball advice and analysis.

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10 Important Stories From 05/27/17 Box Scores: Buying Lackey Low, Is Maybin Emerging & More

2017-05-28T09:07:00+00:00

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) Stephen Strasburg dominated the Padres over 7.0 shutout innings, allowing 3 H and 1 BB while striking out 15.  Dallas Keuchel starred in his return from the DL, allowing 1 R on 4 H and 2 BB, striking outby Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) Stephen Strasburg dominated the Padres over 7.0 shutout innings, allowing 3 H and 1 BB while striking out 15.  Dallas Keuchel starred in his return from the DL, allowing 1 R on 4 H and 2 BB, striking out 8, over 6.0 IP to defeat the Orioles.  Adam Wainwright conquered Coors Field, tossing 7.0 shutout innings (3 H, 1 BB and 6 K) in order to defeat the Rockies.  What else happened on the field that we need to know about?  Let’s take a look:   1) Another solid start from Adalberto Mejia… Taking on the Rays he settled for a no decision, allowing 2 ER on 6 H and 2 BB, striking out 6, over 5.0 IP (after allowing 3 ER over 7.0 IP in his previous outing).  That said he only 9 swinging strikes, having entered the day with an 8.2% SwStr%, and considering his minor league career 7.7 K/9 there’s little reason to think there’s much upside.  He also didn’t flash tremendous groundball stuff (5 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls), and with home runs being an issue (4 HR 21.1 IP) it’s worth noting.  Sure he’s shown good control in the minors (2.1 BB/9), but he’s struggled in that regard since being promoted.  While there is some streaming potential, he shouldn’t be viewed as more than that.   2) The Red Sox’ Brian Johnson shines in spot start… Of course the outing came against the Mariners, who simply can’t touch a southpaw right now.  That needs to be taken into consideration, though it shouldn’t take away from Johnson’s impressive performance en route to a complete game shutout.  He yielded just 5 H and 0 BB, striking out 8, in the process.  That said Johnson is not a groundball pitcher (39.4% at Triple-A, 6 groundballs vs. 13 fly balls yesterday) and could ultimately struggle with home runs.  He also didn’t show big time strikeout stuff (7.46 K/9) nor elite control (3.43 BB/9) over his seven starts at Triple-A prior to his recall.  In other words maybe this was all about the matchup?  Don’t get overly excited.   3) Zack Cozart continues his impressive season… He finished a triple short of the cycle yesterday, going 4-4 with 1 HR, 2 RBI and 1 R, raising his season numbers to .355 with 5 HR, 25 RBI, 27 R and 2 SB.  While it’s been an extremely impressive run, does anyone truly believe in his average?  Considering he entered the day with a .393 BABIP (20.7% line drive rate) you shouldn’t be.  He is showing an improved command of the strike zone, with a 12.7% walk rate, and that will help but he’s a near lock to slow down before long.  While he should continue to be a useful option, he’s not quite this good and is a sell high candidate if the value is there.   4) Has the time come to give up on Danny Salazar… Lasting 5.1 innings he allowed 4 R (3 earned) on 6 H and 5 BB, striking out 4, against the Royals.  The obvious concern is with his control, or lack thereof, as he hasn’t had a start with fewer than 2 BB yet in ’17 (in fact his last regular season outing with fewer than 2 BB came on July 19, 2016, making it 17 straight starts of 2+ BB).  After showing strong control over his first few s[...]



Minor League Update: Finding Faria and The MLB Draft Top 10

2017-05-28T07:06:00+00:00

As the Durham Bulls took the best little minor league pitching circus this side of Mississippi, literally, on the road. I promised myself I'd check out at least one game during the nearest stop on their International (League) tour. This is a rotation that now features the struggling, but still talented Blake Snell, recently activated off-season acquisition Jose De Leon, top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and the strikeout king of AAA Jacob Faria. I've discussed Faria a lot of late, because he's obviously a prospect that fascinates me. On Saturday in Pawtucket he went 4 strong innings before ending his night after completing the 4th. The early exit was more than likely due to the line drive he took off his leg earlier in the inning. It was really too bad, as Faria looked to have his best stuff on the night, outside a two run homer to Bryce Brentz nothing was hit hard at all. The first thing that strikes me when watching Faria is I love his change up. It has some nice break, and he throws it from a similar arm slot to the fastball. Speaking of the fastball, it too is a solid pitch getting some sink, and making it tougher on the hitters to barrel cleanly. This 1-2 punch gives Faria all the fuel he needs to pile up the strikeouts in bunches, however he has a tendency to nibble and limit how deep into games he can get. Saturday was one of his more efficient performances, making the injury all the more upsetting. I have to admit I came away impressed by Faria, and think he has solid mid-rotation upside with some nice K potential. I mean look at that gif below and tell me you don't like what you see. Amirite?!?  Today I venture back to Pawtucket to check out the Rays top prospect Brent Honeywell, who just so happens to check in as the 7th most valuable pitcher on Rudy's Prospectornator. Don't worry I promise to give you all the details on Honeywell....Here's who else is making noise in the MiLB... As the Durham Bulls took the best little minor league pitching circus this side of Mississippi, literally, on the road. I promised myself I'd check out at least one game during the nearest stop on their International (League) tour. This is a rotation that now features the struggling, but still talented Blake Snell, recently activated off-season acquisition Jose De Leon, top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell, and the strikeout king of AAA Jacob Faria. I've discussed Faria a lot of late, because he's obviously a prospect that fascinates me. On Saturday in Pawtucket he went 4 strong innings before ending his night after completing the 4th. The early exit was more than likely due to the line drive he took off his leg earlier in the inning. It was really too bad, as Faria looked to have his best stuff on the night, outside a two run homer to Bryce Brentz nothing was hit hard at all. The first thing that strikes me when watching Faria is I love his change up. It has some nice break, and he throws it from a similar arm slot to the fastball. Speaking of the fastball, it too is a solid pitch getting some sink, and making it tougher on the hitters to barrel cleanly. This 1-2 punch gives Faria all the fuel he needs to pile up the strikeouts in bunches, however he has a tendency to nibble and limit how deep into games he can get. Saturday was one of his more efficient performances, making the injury all the more upsetting. I have to admit I came away impressed by Faria, and think he has solid mid-rotation upside with some nice K potential. I mean look at that gif below and tell me you don't lik[...]



Quick Hits: Arrieta, Cespedes, Twins, Draft, Tribe, Astros

2017-05-28T03:02:00+00:00

As he’s wont to do, agent Scott Boras lobbied on behalf of one of his clients Saturday, the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, brushing off concerns about the right-hander’s early season velocity drop. As Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com notes, the 31-year-old Arrieta has lost 2.5 mph on his fastball since 2015 – his NL Cy Young-winning campaign…As he’s wont to do, agent Scott Boras lobbied on behalf of one of his clients Saturday, the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, brushing off concerns about the right-hander’s early season velocity drop. As Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com notes, the 31-year-old Arrieta has lost 2.5 mph on his fastball since 2015 – his NL Cy Young-winning campaign (he averaged 94.6 mph then) – but Boras doesn’t see it as a big deal. “The question becomes what’s (Clayton) Kershaw averaging? He’s throwing 92.5 mph,” said Boras. “(Zack) Greinke is throwing 91.8 mph. (Max) Scherzer, when he was a free agent, was throwing 92 mph.” Perhaps thanks to his decline in velocity, Arrieta has struggled to prevent runs in his contract year (4.92 ERA in 56 2/3 innings), but Boras still regards him as an “elite pitcher” who has proven it time and again in the regular season and playoffs. More from around the game: In yet another unfortunate break for the injury-laden Mets, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes felt soreness in his right quad Friday and won’t take live at-bats until at least Tuesday, Marc Carig of Newsday was among those to report (Twitter links). Cespedes’ setback occurred while running the bases in a Class-A rehab game, and the club scratched him Saturday as a result. There had been hope that Cespedes would return during the Mets-Brewers series between Monday and Wednesday of the upcoming week, but that no longer looks like a possibility. The Mets have been without Cespedes since late April, when he landed on the disabled list with a hamstring strain after getting off to a blistering start (.270/.373/.619 with six home runs in 75 plate appearances). Notably, a right quad injury hampered him at times last season. As they prepare to pick first overall in next month’s draft, the Twins are doing their due diligence on six players, but Vanderbilt righty Kyle Wright has emerged as the front-runner, writes Jim Callis of MLB.com in his latest mock draft. Like Wright, Louisville first baseman/left-hander Brendan McKay is garnering strong consideration, notes Callis, with California high school righty Hunter Greene, North Carolina high school lefty MacKenzie Gore, California prep outfielder Royce Lewis and Virginia first baseman Pavin Smith also in the mix. Between Wright and McKay, the former has the higher ceiling, per Callis. The Indians’ rotation could be in for a bit of a shakeup: Ace Corey Kluber, on the DL since May 3 with a strained lower back, will rejoin the team Thursday, relays the Associated Press. To make room for Kluber, righty Danny Salazar might head to the bullpen, reports Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com. While all 95 of Salazar’s career appearances have come as a starter, the flamethrower hasn’t helped the Tribe in that capacity this season. Salazar has failed to complete six innings in five straight starts, including a 5 1/3-frame loss to the Royals on Saturday, and has pitched to a 5.50 ERA in 52 1/3 innings. While the 27-year-old has missed bats at a superstar-caliber level (12.55 K/9, 15.8 percent swinging-strike rate), he has of[...]



Rosenthal’s Latest: Tigers, Dodgers, White Sox, Rays

2017-05-28T01:24:00+00:00

As the trade deadline approaches, the Tigers have discussed dealing veteran players for pieces capable of helping them both now and in the future, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). Regardless of whether they’re in the playoff hunt around the deadline, the Tigers could move impending free agent right fielder J.D. Martinez, says Rosenthal,…As the trade deadline approaches, the Tigers have discussed dealing veteran players for pieces capable of helping them both now and in the future, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). Regardless of whether they’re in the playoff hunt around the deadline, the Tigers could move impending free agent right fielder J.D. Martinez, says Rosenthal, who notes that the new qualifying offer system will make it difficult for them to keep the slugger through the season if they’re not going to re-sign him. Should the Tigers retain Martinez through 2017, stay above the luxury-tax threshold and issue him a qualifying offer after the season, they’d only get back a pick after the fourth round if he rejects the QO and signs elsewhere. More from Rosenthal: Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray would be a perfect fit for the Dodgers, suggests Rosenthal, though he adds that they’re not convinced they’ll need to acquire another starting pitcher this summer. The Dodgers are loaded with rotation depth, of course, and their starters entered Saturday ranked fourth in the majors in ERA and first in FIP. Their bullpen has been similarly successful (third and first in those categories), but some members of the organization believe adding a left-handed reliever is a much bigger priority than picking up another starter, per Rosenthal. Even though White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu could serve as a mentor to fellow Cubans Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert, they’re not necessarily inclined to keep Abreu, relays Rosenthal. This summer might not prove to be the right time for Chicago to trade him, however, as fellow first baseman Eric Hosmer (Royals) and Yonder Alonso (Athletics) are likely to end up on the block, thereby weakening Abreu’s market. The Rays (26-26, plus-24 run differential) are unlikely to buy at the deadline if they’re still in contention, according to Rosenthal. The low-payroll club instead plans to rely on in-house reinforcements, including soon-to-return injured players in shortstop Matt Duffy, catcher Wilson Ramos and reliever Brad Boxberger. The Rays also expect one or more of their top Triple-A arms to make an impact out of their bullpen down the stretch. Tampa Bay has well-regarded pitching prospects in Brent Honeywell and Jose De Leon at the highest level of the minors. Both righties rank among Baseball America’s 40 best prospects. [...]



NL Notes: Pirates, Mets, Cubs, Brewers

2017-05-28T00:16:00+00:00

In welcome news, the Pirates have announced that right-hander Jameson Taillon will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A on Sunday, which should put him in position to return to the majors by late June. The 25-year-old Taillon underwent surgery for testicular cancer on May 8 and was cleared to resume baseball activities less than two…In welcome news, the Pirates have announced that right-hander Jameson Taillon will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A on Sunday, which should put him in position to return to the majors by late June. The 25-year-old Taillon underwent surgery for testicular cancer on May 8 and was cleared to resume baseball activities less than two weeks later. More from the National League: Mets ownership has given no indication that manager Terry Collins is in danger of losing his job, but the skipper does have critics within the front office, reports Marc Carig of Newsday. After back-to-back playoff seasons – including a World Series berth in 2015 – injury-plagued New York has gotten off to a 20-26 start this year and Collins’ bullpen management “has left some Mets officials fuming” along the way, writes Carig. However, Collins has the full support of owner Fred Wilpon, according to Carig, and could survive the season. The 68-year-old Collins became the longest-tenured manager in Mets history last week, having taken the reins back in 2011. He’s in the final year of his contract. The Cubs have relegated left fielder Kyle Schwarber to a platoon role for the time being, meaning the lefty-swinger won’t face southpaws, manager Joe Maddon told reporters Friday (via Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune). “If he’s not swinging the bat well against righties, it’s a bad assumption he’s going to do well against lefties,” said Maddon, who sat Schwarber against Dodgers lefty Alex Wood on Friday. “I’m just putting him in a deeper hole by throwing him out there just based on really bad logic.” The powerful Schwarber, 24, entered the season with no shortage of hype after missing nearly all of last year with torn knee ligaments, but he has stumbled to a .183/.303/.356 line in 188 plate appearances (.147/.310/.265 in 42 tries versus lefties). Brewers first baseman Eric Thames has already been tested for performance-enhancing drugs at least five times this year, but the league isn’t conspiring against the slugger, writes FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Rather, drug testing has gone up across the majors thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, which likely explains Thames’ regular tests, posits Rosenthal. Thames was also tested “frequently” as a superstar with the Korea Baseball Organization from 2014-16, but there’s no account of a failed test there or with the Brewers, sources told Rosenthal. [...]



Anthony Alford To Undergo Wrist Surgery

2017-05-27T23:53:00+00:00

SATURDAY, 6:53pm: Alford will indeed undergo surgery and is likely to miss at least four to six weeks, per Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. 9:07am: The Jays have announced that Alford will meet with hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan next week and that he’s likely to have surgery. WEDNESDAY: The Blue Jays have placed outfielder Anthony Alford on…

SATURDAY, 6:53pm: Alford will indeed undergo surgery and is likely to miss at least four to six weeks, per Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.

9:07am: The Jays have announced that Alford will meet with hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan next week and that he’s likely to have surgery.

WEDNESDAY: The Blue Jays have placed outfielder Anthony Alford on the 10-day DL, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca first reported on Twitter. Per the club’s announcement, Alford has been diagnosed with a fractured hamate bone in his left wrist.

Alford, 22, had only recently been called up for his first taste of the big leagues. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether he’d hold down a roster spot for more than a brief stretch. Now, Alford will accrue major league service time while he heals. His expected recovery timeline isn’t yet known, though typically such injuries require around six weeks of down time.

Injuries rarely come at opportune moments, but the timing is particularly unfortunate here. Alford was off to a strong start at Double-A, slashing .325/.411/.455 with 16 walks against 24 strikeouts before his promotion. That came on the heels of a tepid 2016 performance, and the club surely hoped to see him extend that momentum — perhaps setting the stage for holding down a regular MLB role.

From the team’s perspective, it also hurts to see Alford’s service clock run while he’s out. It’s possible for the youngster to pick up as many as 136 days of service this year. Even if he ends up returning and being optioned later in 2017, thus limiting the tally, the service days accrued now could potentially play a role in determining when Alford reaches arbitration or even free agency.

Coming up to take the open spot on the active roster is Dwight Smith Jr. The 53rd overall pick in the 2011 draft, Smith had recently been optioned after making his own MLB debut following a strong showing to open the season at Triple-A.

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Cafardo’s Latest: Marlins, Royals, Twins, Padres, Dodgers, Red Sox, Braves

2017-05-27T23:05:00+00:00

The groups bidding on the Marlins have concerns over whether baseball will ever make it big in Miami, reports the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who adds that it’s possible the team needs a major Latin American star to market itself to a largely Hispanic population. With that in mind, it would make sense for the…The groups bidding on the Marlins have concerns over whether baseball will ever make it big in Miami, reports the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, who adds that it’s possible the team needs a major Latin American star to market itself to a largely Hispanic population. With that in mind, it would make sense for the Marlins to pursue Orioles third baseman and Florida native Manny Machado if he were to hit free agency after the 2018 season, opines Cafardo.  The club’s biggest star at the moment is right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, whose mammoth contract has been a burden in Jeffrey Loria’s attempt to sell the Marlins, according to Cafardo. Stanton is in Year 3 of a 13-year, $325MM deal and also has a full no-trade clause that the Los Angeles native would likely only waive to go to the West Coast, per Cafardo. There’s no indication that any West Coast teams are interested in acquiring the slugger, however. Plenty more from Cafardo: Royals left-hander Jason Vargas, in the midst of a career year at the age of 34, has seen his value skyrocket and is drawing “considerable interest” as a result, relays Cafardo. Vargas has been quite stingy through 60 1/3 innings, having logged a 2.39 ERA and a strong 3.20 FIP. He has also registered respectable strikeout and walk rates per nine innings (7.61 and 2.24, respectively), though he’s not exactly a high-velocity hurler and his 33.9 percent ground-ball rate sits well below the 44.4 percent league-average mark for starters. Vargas is on an $8MM salary this season as he concludes the four-year, $32MM contract he signed with Kansas City prior to the 2014 campaign. Although the first-place Twins have been one of the majors’ biggest surprises this year, teams expect them to make righty Ervin Santana available before the trade deadline, says Cafardo. Long a decent starter, Santana has turned in a front-line-caliber ERA this year (1.80) through 70 innings, but his strikeout and walk rates (6.43 and 3.47, respectively, per nine), unsustainable batting average on balls in play (.136) and sky-high strand rate (91.5 percent) suggest regression is around the corner. To Santana’s credit, his success has hardly been all luck – hitters have had major difficulty squaring him up, evidenced by a relatively paltry average exit velocity against (84.1 mph). Any team acquiring Santana would land a multiyear rotation piece, as he’s signed through next season at $13.5MM and carries a $14MM club option for 2019. The expectation is that the Padres will deal second baseman/third baseman Yangervis Solarte by the deadline, per Cafardo. Solarte’s name came up in trade rumors last winter on the heels of a career season (.286/.341/.467, 2.8 fWAR in 443 plate appearances), but he hasn’t helped his stock this year. So far in 2017, Solarte has slashed a meek .240/.330/.345 in 197 PAs. While it’s encouraging that his walk and strikeout rates match (10.2 percent), the 29-year-old has shown considerably less power than he did last season, wit[...]



Fantasy Baseball Week 9: Why are these hitters still available?

2017-05-27T21:26:00+00:00

It’s important to make the necessary adjustments to your fantasy baseball team now. Yet, why are these players still available in many leagues? The fantasy baseball season is a third of the way over but there’s still a lot left to play. I say that June 1 is a good time to assess your team […]

Fantasy Baseball Week 9: Why are these hitters still available? - Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks - Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks - Practical and useful fantasy baseball advice and analysis.

It’s important to make the necessary adjustments to your fantasy baseball team now. Yet, why are these players still available in many leagues? The fantasy baseball season is a third of the way over but there’s still a lot left to play. I say that June 1 is a good time to assess your team […]

Fantasy Baseball Week 9: Why are these hitters still available? - Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks - Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks - Practical and useful fantasy baseball advice and analysis.

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Latest On The Potential Sale Of The Marlins

2017-05-27T21:18:00+00:00

The Marlins are negotiating with the Jeb Bush/Derek Jeter and Tagg Romney/Tom Glavine/Dave Stewart groups and intend to sell the team to one of those groups “in the coming weeks,” Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes in a detailed report about the status of the sale. (We encourage you to give it a click; especially for stories…The Marlins are negotiating with the Jeb Bush/Derek Jeter and Tagg Romney/Tom Glavine/Dave Stewart groups and intend to sell the team to one of those groups “in the coming weeks,” Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes in a detailed report about the status of the sale. (We encourage you to give it a click; especially for stories like these that revolve around events that take place entirely away from the baseball field, firsthand reporting is crucial.) Other recent stories about the sale have characterized negotiations as fraught, suggesting either that potential owners have backed away after examining the team’s financials, or that the Bush/Jeter group in particular did not have the capital necessary to complete the deal. According to Jackson, though, current owner Jeffrey Loria remains “fully committed” to selling the team, and the team is “optimistic” a deal will happen. The Bush/Jeter group is currently a “slight favorite,” Jackson writes, although the Romney/Glavine/Stewart group is still a real possibility. Both groups have told the Marlins that they and their investors have enough money to make the deal (contrary, perhaps, to a recent report suggesting the Jeter/Bush group did not have the necessary funds to make a $1.3B bid), although neither group’s investors have formally submitted partnership agreements that are required by the league. Jackson explains that, according to a source close to Bush, the Bush/Jeter group has a number of verbal agreements with investors that would give it the money necessary to buy the team. The winning bid might require $800MM-$850MM in equity (with the rest of the sale total being financed through debt), plus an additional $200MM or so to pay to run the team (presumably meaning paying for player salaries and other significant expenses in the period shortly after the sale). The Romney/Glavine/Stewart bid was slightly higher than the Bush/Jeter bid, Jackson writes, although a source tells him that other factors make the two bids approximately the same. Jackson also adds that Joe Molloy, briefly a managing general partner of the Yankees and formerly George Steinbrenner’s son-in-law, has also been trying to get involved in the bidding for the Marlins. His group has not yet made a bid, however. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross never made any bid to buy the Marlins, contrary to a previous report, Jackson writes.[...]



Max Kepler is putting it all together

2017-05-27T20:28:00+00:00

The Twins outfielder is becoming a complete package on offense. While the Twins imploded last year en route to a 59-103 record, a number of young players showed some potential and gave miserable fans fleeting hope. Perhaps the most promising of the bunch was Max Kepler, the team’s regular right fielder for most of the year. Kepler hit .235/.309/.424 for a 93 wRC+, while earning 4.4 runs on the basepaths (by BsR) and six runs in the outfield (by DRS). Overall, Baseball-Reference pegged him at 2.4 WAR in 447 plate appearances. Kepler was by no means a finished product, of course. That offense still left a lot to be desired, especially since he’d hit .281/.363/.446 over 1,949 plate appearances in the minors. And this season, he’s looked a lot more like that hitter: Through 167 trips to the dish, he’s slashed .262/.353/.455 for a 120 wRC+. Together with his baserunning and defense, that strong bat makes him a phenomenal all-around player, already worth 1.7 rWAR. As a farmhand, Kepler excelled when it came to plate discipline; he tallied a lifetime walk rate of 10.6 percent and a lifetime strikeout rate of 15.4 percent. His rookie campaign featured some decent numbers — a 9.4 percent walk rate and 20.8 percent strikeout rate, each of which was better than the big-league average — but beneath that, a problem lurked. Last year, Kepler’s pitch recognition was, for lack of a better word, awful. He swung at 33.3 percent of pitches outside the strike zone (MLB average: 30.6 percent) and 54.9 percent of pitches inside the strike zone (MLB average: 63.9 percent). The difference between the two was one of the worst in the majors: This year, though, he’s progressed in both regards. Kepler has trimmed his O-Swing rate to 23.4 percent, while pumping his Z-Swing rate up to 58.4 percent. Thanks to that improvement — reducing his overall strike rate and called strike rate — Kepler has walked in 11.4 percent of his plate appearances and struck out in 18.0 percent. Kepler hasn’t fixed any one hole. Rather, he’s had better judgment pretty much everywhere: Images via Brooks Baseball If you swing less often at pitches outside the zone, and more often at pitches inside the zone, good things will happen. Such has been the case for Kepler. Plus, he’s faring a lot better when he makes contact on those swings. His exit velocity has soared to new heights this year: Image via Baseball Savant In 2016, Kepler hit the ball at an average exit velocity of 89.4 mph; that ranked 84th among the 225 hitters with at least 250 balls in play. In 2017, that’s spiked to 91.2 mph, placing 13th out of 167 hitters with 100 balls in play. By making solid contact more often, he’s increased his BABIP from .261 to .297, while maintaining a strong ISO. As with the plate discipline, there aren’t any glaring differences between 2016… GIF via MLB.com …and 2017: GIF via MLB.com Kepler’s load and swing look the same as ever. He’s just being more selective about when to swing, and apparently that’s helped him tap into his power more often. In less than two-fifths of the plate appearances, Kepler has accumulated more than two-thirds of the rWAR he had all of last year. He’s been[...]



5 Key Stories: 5/20/17 – 5/26/17

2017-05-27T19:28:00+00:00

Here are the biggest stories from this week at MLBTR. Braves acquire Matt Adams from Cardinals. The Braves made a trade to add a first baseman this week, getting Matt Adams and cash from St. Louis for minor-league infielder Juan Yepez. The move gives Atlanta a slugger (albeit one with limitations, since Adams needs to be platooned)…Here are the biggest stories from this week at MLBTR. Braves acquire Matt Adams from Cardinals. The Braves made a trade to add a first baseman this week, getting Matt Adams and cash from St. Louis for minor-league infielder Juan Yepez. The move gives Atlanta a slugger (albeit one with limitations, since Adams needs to be platooned) to help compensate for the loss of Freddie Freeman, who’s expected to miss more than two months with a fractured wrist. In the wake of the trade, the Braves also parted ways with veteran first baseman James Loney, who they’d signed only days before. White Sox sign Luis Robert. The White Sox struck a deal this week with top Cuban outfield prospect Luis Robert, agreeing to a minor-league contract that will earn him $26MM. The Cardinals also contended for Robert’s services, but Robert picked Chicago, perhaps in part because of a video presentation that featured fellow countrymen Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada, as well as Spanish-speaking manager Rick Renteria. Padres marketing Brad Hand. It is perhaps little surprise that the Padres would consider trading a veteran reliever, but the news this week suggests that lefty Brad Hand could be headed out of San Diego sooner rather than later. Several teams have reportedly had preliminary talks with the Padres about Hand, and interest appears strong. Hand has quietly pieced together an excellent resume in San Diego, where he whiffed a remarkable 111 batters while pitching purely in relief last season and is off to another strong start in 2017. Anibal Sanchez, C.J. Cron head to minors. Two struggling veterans headed to Triple-A this week, as the Tigers sent righty Anibal Sanchez to Toledo and the Angels shipped first baseman C.J. Cron to Salt Lake. Sanchez was off to a poor beginning to the season while pitching in the bullpen, with 26 runs allowed in 21 innings, and wanted to reestablish himself as a starter. Cron, meanwhile, was batting just .232/.281/.305 after returning from a foot injury. David Price to make 2017 debut. After missing nearly two months with an elbow injury, David Price is set to make his first start of the 2017 season this coming Monday. That’s good news for a Red Sox team that has struggled to find consistent starting pitching beyond Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez and Rick Porcello. The team promoted lefty Brian Johnson to start today. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.[...]



Cardinals Select John Brebbia’s Contract, Designate Miguel Socolovich

2017-05-27T18:14:00+00:00

The Cardinals have announced that they’ve selected the contract of righty reliever John Brebbia from Triple-A Memphis. To clear space on their 40-man roster, they’ve designated fellow righty Miguel Socolovich for assignment. [Related: Updated St. Louis Cardinals Depth Chart] The 27-year-old Brebbia spent time in the Yankees system and in independent ball before the Cardinals selected him…

The Cardinals have announced that they’ve selected the contract of righty reliever John Brebbia from Triple-A Memphis. To clear space on their 40-man roster, they’ve designated fellow righty Miguel Socolovich for assignment.

[Related: Updated St. Louis Cardinals Depth Chart]

The 27-year-old Brebbia spent time in the Yankees system and in independent ball before the Cardinals selected him in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 Draft prior to the 2016 season. He mostly struggled at Double-A and Triple-A in 2016, although he posted solid peripherals. This year, he has fared well in Triple-A, posting a 1.69 ERA, 9.8 K/9 and a strong 1.7 BB/9. He has never pitched in the Majors.

The 30-year-old Socolovich shuttled back and forth between Memphis and St. Louis in 2015 and 2016 and generally did quite well in his big-league opportunities, but the Cardinals never cleared a more regular place for him in their bullpen, and removed him from their roster after he allowed 20 runs, 18 earned, in 18 2/3 innings this year. He was also out of options, so the Cardinals couldn’t simply send him back to Triple-A. Given his solid Triple-A record and his big-league performances this year, and the fact that his salary is near the league minimum, he could be a waiver claim for a team in need of relief help.

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The pitch-to-contact Stephen Strasburg

2017-05-27T18:00:02+00:00

The Nationals fireballer has looked like a different pitcher in 2017. But what, if anything, has he changed? Stephen Strasburg is having a good 2017, by almost every measure. Baseball-Reference’s bWAR, which is based off of runs allowed, has him at 1.5 wins above replacement; FanGraphs’ fWAR, based off of FIP, has him at 1.7; and Baseball Prospectus’s WARP, based off of DRA, has him at 2.2. All three figures are better than usual for the Nationals righty, and put him on pace for a very solid season, by his standards or the standards of almost anyone in MLB. But beneath that even spread of WAR types lies a different sort of season for Strasburg than he’s had in the past. As I mentioned in this morning’s preview of his start tonight, his 2017 RA9 is very similar to his career mark (3.28 vs. 3.53, respectively), as is his FIP (2.82 vs. 2.85). But his process leading to those two marks is distinct from what he employed in the rest of his career. Strasburg is striking out fewer batters (24.2 percent vs. 28.7 percent career), and walking just as many, meaning the change in FIP is coming entirely from his suppressed home run rate (1.6 percent vs. 2.3 percent career). Home run rate is usually considered something pitchers don’t have a ton of control over, as a difference of just a couple of feet can transform a routine out into a crushing blow (and vice versa). But DRA, Baseball Prospectus’s pitching metric, is designed to control for everything that can possibly be controlled for, and it thinks that Strasburg has improved substantially (2.18 vs. 2.66 career). If the lack of home runs was just a happy mistake, then falling strikeouts and stable walks would presumably translate to a worse DRA. The fact that it has instead improved suggests there’s something behind this change other than randomness. But what? Let’s start by ticking off the things Strasburg hasn’t changed. His pitch mix has remained almost entirely steady over the course of his career, and 2017 has been no different; he’s featured the slider he introduced in 2016 slightly less, but it wasn’t a major part of his arsenal last year either. His velocity hasn’t shifted in the slightest: and none of his pitches are moving differently, either vertically or horizontally. Back before the season started, Strasburg decided to stop pitching from the windup, and always pitch from the stretch, a somewhat curious decision from a starter. If it helped him achieve mechanical consistency, it’s possible to imagine the change helping his command and control. But Strasburg tried to downplay the importance of the move at the time, and it’s hard to glean any improvements from his stats: his zone rate, swing rate, and contact rate are all well within his career norms. And if we look at the underlying contact Strasburg’s allowed, there are no obvious improvements there either. His batted ball split is very similar to his career numbers (47.6 percent ground ball rate, vs. 45.3 percent career). And his average exit velocity allowed has actually risen, from 86.7mph in 2016 to 88.1mph in 2017, as has his exit velocity allowed on balls in the air specifically, fro[...]



Two-Start Starters, Week 9: (Ariel) Miranda Rights And Wrongs

2017-05-27T18:00:01+00:00

I was originally excited to focus on Baby Thor Mike Clevinger in my first post taking over the Two-Start Starters for M@, but the rainout on Thursday threw everything out of whack. So, I had to pivot and focus on what’s going on in Seattle. Enter Ariel Miranda and Sam Gaviglio. Of the two starters for the Mariners right now, Miranda is the one to target. To be honest, neither one is likely to be a long-term fix for your rotation. Gaviglio is a 27-year old who has an ERA of 4.01 over seven seasons in the minor leagues, while Miranda is a 28-year old Cuban who had moderate success in the Cuban National Series and the minors. Both are scheduled to start two games next week for the Mariners. At first glance, it would appear that Gaviglio is the tasty treat that a starter-needy fantasy owner should target. After all, he has the shiny 1.29 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Unfortunately, not only is that a very small sample size, but there are some pretty serious red flags. For starters, while he only gave up one run against the Nationals, he only struck out one batter in six innings. That shiny ERA is also aided by the fact that he actually gave up five runs, but just the one was earned. Against the White Sox in his previous start, he went five innings and only struck out two batters. In his two starts this season, he has thrown 11 innings and struck out just three batters. But that's not it, here is the bigger issue with Gaviglio. His ERA might be 1.29, but his FIP currently sits at 4.22. At 2.93, his FIP-to-ERA ratio is the highest of any of the 40+ two-start starters in week 9. Between his lack of strikeouts, his lackluster career in the minors, and his inflated FIP-to-ERA ratio, you better believe he is going to regress to the mean sooner rather than later. Ignore that ERA and stay away from Sammy G. As for Miranda, I like him more and hate him less. While he doesn't have the same sub-2.00 ERA as Gaviglio, he does have an 8.75 K/9, a less hideous .40 FIP-to-ERA, and a 5.77 K/9-to-BB/9 ratio. While he has had a couple of disastrous starts this season, he also has six starts in which he has given up two runs or fewer. You could do worse than Miranda as a two-starter starter. In fact, you could have Gaviglio. Both should be available in more than 75% of leagues. Despite the fact that the Mariners visit the Rockies next week, there are worse options for two-start starters... I was originally excited to focus on Baby Thor Mike Clevinger in my first post taking over the Two-Start Starters for M@, but the rainout on Thursday threw everything out of whack. So, I had to pivot and focus on what’s going on in Seattle. Enter Ariel Miranda and Sam Gaviglio. Of the two starters for the Mariners right now, Miranda is the one to target. To be honest, neither one is likely to be a long-term fix for your rotation. Gaviglio is a 27-year old who has an ERA of 4.01 over seven seasons in the minor leagues, while Miranda is a 28-year old Cuban who had moderate success in the Cuban National Series and the minors. Both are scheduled to start two games next week for the Mariners. At first glance, it would appear that Gaviglio is the tasty treat that a starter-needy fantasy owner should [...]



Hey Batter³ Contest, Week 9: 40 Shots Of J.D.

2017-05-27T18:00:00+00:00

In just his first full week back J.D. Martinez topped the charts in week 7 coming in with 40 points and doing what he does best, hit dongs. I freaking sound like Casey Kasem with that opening line. Is he still doing top 40 countdowns? I haven't heard him in quite some time. But then again I pretty much only listen to the Howard Stern Show. En route to those 40 points, J.D. smacked four home runs, drove in nine and walked ten times. Owners that have been stashing him until now must be pretty happy with themselves. Have yourself a shot of JD! Jake Lamb fell one point short of Martinez with 39. The winner for week 7 is the contestant that picked Nelson Cruz (21 points), Corey Seager (23 points) and Jose Bautista (33 points). That person is Peter guigli with a total of 77 points. Coming in at second on the charts was Smallwine who scored 76 points by picking Nelson Cruz (21), J.D. Martinez (40) and Buster Posey (15). With both selecting Cruz, it came down to Seager and Joey Bats versus J.D. and Posey, with just one point separating them. Here are the top-5 from Week 7:In just his first full week back J.D. Martinez topped the charts in week 7 coming in with 40 points and doing what he does best, hit dongs. I freaking sound like Casey Kasem with that opening line. Is he still doing top 40 countdowns? I haven't heard him in quite some time. But then again I pretty much only listen to the Howard Stern Show. En route to those 40 points, J.D. smacked four home runs, drove in nine and walked ten times. Owners that have been stashing him until now must be pretty happy with themselves. Have yourself a shot of JD! Jake Lamb fell one point short of Martinez with 39. The winner for week 7 is the contestant that picked Nelson Cruz (21 points), Corey Seager (23 points) and Jose Bautista (33 points). That person is Peter guigli with a total of 77 points. Coming in at second on the charts was Smallwine who scored 76 points by picking Nelson Cruz (21), J.D. Martinez (40) and Buster Posey (15). With both selecting Cruz, it came down to Seager and Joey Bats versus J.D. and Posey, with just one point separating them. Here are the top-5 from Week 7:[...]



Rangers Claim Peter O’Brien

2017-05-27T17:52:00+00:00

The Rangers have claimed 1B/OF Peter O’Brien from the Reds, the two clubs have announced. To clear space on their 40-man roster, the Rangers have moved righty Tyson Ross to the 60-day DL. They’ve optioned O’Brien to Triple-A Round Rock. O’Brien’s stay in the Reds organization was brief — they claimed him from the Royals less…

The Rangers have claimed 1B/OF Peter O’Brien from the Reds, the two clubs have announced. To clear space on their 40-man roster, the Rangers have moved righty Tyson Ross to the 60-day DL. They’ve optioned O’Brien to Triple-A Round Rock.

O’Brien’s stay in the Reds organization was brief — they claimed him from the Royals less than two weeks ago. Cincinnati designated him for assignment when they claimed Jake Buchanan from the Cubs earlier this week.

O’Brien will be 27 later this summer and has struggled in Triple-A this season, posting a .168/.252/.304 line there this season. He also hasn’t fared well in brief trials at the big-league level, batting .176/.228/.446 in 79 plate appearances spanning two years with the Diamondbacks. It is, however, fairly easy to see why he continues to generate interest on the waiver wire — he hit 24 or more minor-league home runs for four straight seasons from 2013 to 2016.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given O’Brien’s recent struggles, though, he has never controlled the strike zone very well, culminating in a 147-strikeout season in Triple-A Reno last year in which he walked only 23 times. The Rangers already have a faintly similar player in slugger Joey Gallo, although O’Brien looks far more like a journeyman than whatever Gallo will turn out to be — he’s significantly older, and his power is perhaps less jaw-dropping than Gallo’s. (He’s also right-handed, whereas Gallo bats lefty.) In any case, the Rangers can stash O’Brien at Triple-A for awhile to see if he makes any progress developing a more well-rounded offensive approach to complement his power.

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Jim Bunning Passes Away

2017-05-27T17:40:00+00:00

Hall of Fame pitcher and former US Senator Jim Bunning has passed away, the Phillies have announced. He was 85 and had suffered a stroke last fall. Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky, outside Cincinnati, and attended a Cincinnati high school and Xavier University. He spent several years in the Tigers’ minor-league system before debuting in…

Hall of Fame pitcher and former US Senator Jim Bunning has passed away, the Phillies have announced. He was 85 and had suffered a stroke last fall.

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Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky, outside Cincinnati, and attended a Cincinnati high school and Xavier University. He spent several years in the Tigers’ minor-league system before debuting in the big leagues with Detroit in 1955. He received five All-Star berths as a member of the Tigers before heading to Philadelphia in 1964. There, he continued to rate as one of the game’s best starting pitchers, finishing second in NL Cy Young balloting in 1967 while leading the league in both innings pitched (302 1/3) and strikeouts (253).

Bunning made brief stops with the Pirates and Dodgers before finishing his career with two seasons in Philadelphia. He ended up with 224 wins, 2,855 strikeouts (second to Walter Johnson on the all-time list at the time of his retirement), a no-hitter, and a perfect game. As a pitcher, Bunning was known for his sidearm delivery and his reliability (he threw 200 or more innings in 11 straight seasons). He was selected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1996.

Bunning then embarked on a career in politics, serving in local and state roles in Kentucky before being elected to the US House of Representatives as a Republican in 1986. He won a Senate seat in 1998 and served two terms, leaving the body after announcing he would not run for reelection in 2010. He lived in his native Southgate at the time of his passing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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Bour Money, Bour Problems: Fish Fish, Bish

2017-05-27T17:00:00+00:00

Ever been on a couples trip to the beach where the other couples have AT LEAST three kids a pop? That's right, I say "at least", for I am not even entirely sure how many of these little bastards I'll be d*cking around with. I bring this up only because I've been participating in extravagant amounts of soul-searching, spending more time on my knees than Elton John's personal taint-trimmer, begging the Elders for a resolution that never seems to arrive: Does Beddict want children of his own some day? First off, who are you to say that I don't have a child somewhere that I don't know about? Secondly, I passed out last night before even finishing a paragraph as, for some reason, people still actually believe getting fast food is a wonderful idea, even though it's full of outrageously disgusting products that make me feel like I just inhaled four sticks of deep fried butter and washed it down with a liter of turbo-lax. Seriously, I love sitting around with 17 kids, pretending to be somewhat interested in whatever these other adults living the American dream have to say, while simultaneously following all the MLB action going on and wondering if their wive's were attractive at one point in time... "Sorry, what did you say dude? Your truck has how much horsepower and your hatch-back with super-sick exhaust is hella bad-ass, even though you are pushing 50? Why are your dogs locked in a cage in the middle of the living room and why do they look as if they would love nothing more than to chew on my throat for 35 minutes, following that up with a neighborhood cat-killing spree that makes The Purge, look tamer than Home Alone 3, you know the one with that wack ass kid from Liar, Liar?" I seriously need answers on how you guys/gals live your life with actual children around all the time... I cannot get anything done. In fact, I can hear the little beasts now, as everyone is waking up for a FULL 8 hours on the beach in 90-plus degree weather. Maybe I'll tell them I'm almost done with an extremely important write-up and that I'll meet them at their beach spot, when in fact I'll just be doing lines with one of those creepy bathroom attendant dudes who sells cologne spray and single cigarettes at the local strip club, which I'm sure is absolute garbage. You've got to be realistic about these things. Anyway, here's what I noticed last night regarding the fantasy baseball world as I rudely ignored all the other adults in the house. Take heed!Ever been on a couples trip to the beach where the other couples have AT LEAST three kids a pop? That's right, I say "at least", for I am not even entirely sure how many of these little bastards I'll be d*cking around with. I bring this up only because I've been participating in extravagant amounts of soul-searching, spending more time on my knees than Elton John's personal taint-trimmer, begging the Elders for a resolution that never seems to arrive: Does Beddict want children of his own some day? First off, who are you to say that I don't have a child somewhere that I don't know about? Secondly, I passed out last night before even f[...]



Padres Place Manuel Margot On DL, Promote Franchy Cordero

2017-05-27T16:49:00+00:00

The Padres have announced that they’ve placed outfielder Manuel Margot on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Thursday, with a strained calf. To take his place on the active roster, they’ve recalled fellow outfielder Franchy Cordero from Triple-A El Paso. The Margot move is somewhat expected — Margot’s calf injury was already known, and he was…

The Padres have announced that they’ve placed outfielder Manuel Margot on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Thursday, with a strained calf. To take his place on the active roster, they’ve recalled fellow outfielder Franchy Cordero from Triple-A El Paso.

The Margot move is somewhat expected — Margot’s calf injury was already known, and he was wearing a walking boot yesterday. The center fielder was batting .259/.305/.389 in what figured to be his first full big-league season.

As disappointing as it must be for the Padres to lose a high-upside 22-year-old outfielder for awhile, though, the Cordero move is interesting in its own right. Cordero is also 22, and he was batting .289/.349/.520 for Triple-A El Paso — good numbers even after considering that El Paso is a great place for hitters. He played in 2015 at Class A Fort Wayne, but the Padres moved him aggressively through their system in 2016 as he batted .290/.344/.450 across three levels, demonstrating good contact ability and burgeoning extra-base power. He earned a 40-man roster spot in November.

Cordero’s most significant downside at the plate currently seems to be strikeouts — he’s had 59 of them in 190 plate appearances so far this season, although that might be somewhat understandable given his youth. MLB.com rates Cordero the No. 23 prospect in a strong Padres system, praising his raw power and his defense in center field.

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FanDuel: Let Us Prey: Strasburg Versus the Padres

2017-05-27T16:45:00+00:00

I'm not a religious girl, but when I was sitting down to write this post and saw the magic words “Stephen Strasburg versus the San Diego Padres” and also “@COL” (mmm, strudel), I raised my hands and gave up a "hallelujah." Which caused some raised eyebrows in the coffee shop I was sitting in, let me tell you (ugh, whatEVer, Man Yelling Into Skype About His Deck Repairs). So it’s fair to say I’m reasonably excited about Stephen’s match-up today. Even if he does cost me $11,100 (gulp). Collectively, the Padres are hitting .221 at time of writing. They're the third-worst team in MLB (and I hate pointing all this stuff out — I do root for the Padres). I have some worries: so far this year, Strasburg’s K/9 is a little down (8.80) and his ERA at home is not ideal (4.00 at home versus 2.70 away), but I gotta have faith. I also want to stack some Rockies and Cardinals bats. Trying to squeeze all this into my FanDuel salary cap is gonna hurt like kneeling too long at church when you're as old as I am, but I'll make it work. New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well, be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot  for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care!I'm not a religious girl, but when I was sitting down to write this post and saw the magic words “Stephen Strasburg versus the San Diego Padres” and also “@COL” (mmm, strudel), I raised my hands and gave up a "hallelujah." Which caused some raised eyebrows in the coffee shop I was sitting in, let me tell you (ugh, whatEVer, Man Yelling Into Skype About His Deck Repairs). So it’s fair to say I’m reasonably excited about Stephen’s match-up today. Even if he does cost me $11,100 (gulp). Collectively, the Padres are hitting .221 at time of writing. They're the third-worst team in MLB (and I hate pointing all this stuff out — I do root for the Padres). I have some worries: so far this year, Strasburg’s K/9 is a little down (8.80) and his ERA at home is not ideal (4.00 at home versus 2.70 away), but I gotta have faith. I also want to stack some Rockies and Cardinals bats. Trying to squeeze all this into my FanDuel salary cap is gonna hurt like kneeling too long at church when you're as old as I am, but I'll make it work. New to FanDuel? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well, be sure to read our content and subscribe to the DFSBot  for your daily baseball plays. Just remember to sign up through us before jumping into the fray. It’s how we know you care![...]



The Bullpen Report: Three Relievers Who Are Worth Adding (Ryan Madson & More)

2017-05-27T16:30:00+00:00

by Nick Hutcherson Are you looking for a reliever who has the potential to provide elite ratios as well as saves moving forward?  Here are a few different recommendations for you, based on the size league that you are playing in:   Three to grab Shallowby Nick Hutcherson Are you looking for a reliever who has the potential to provide elite ratios as well as saves moving forward?  Here are a few different recommendations for you, based on the size league that you are playing in:   Three to grab Shallow League-Brad Hand, San Diego Padres Hand isn’t going to turn into a Top 10 option simply because of opportunities. However he has been brilliant this season and 25 saves with very strong ratios is something that you should not overlook. There are not a lot of threats to him in this bullpen, even though there theoretically could be: Carter Capps is still figuring out his mechanics (2 months later) Brandon Maurer has clearly shown he isn’t the solution Ryan Buchter is solid, but isn’t going to take the job away anytime soon. A trade is the one potential stumbling block, as his name has already been bandied about, though time will tell. Average League-Cam Bedrosian, LA AngelsTake note: Bud Norris left Friday’s outing after just three pitches with right knee soreness while Bedrosian is nearing a return. This sets up for Bedrosian to potentially slot right back in as the closer, and if you’ve watched him pitch you know that when he gets this job back health is the only thing that could take it away. His arsenal is elite and he has performed every time he was healthy enough to be the guy. Deep League- Ryan Madson, Oakland A’s If Madson is available in your league, take advantage of his dazzling ratios and wait this one out. While he is striking out just shy of a batter per inning, he has a sub-2.00 ERA, a WHIP hovering around 1 and a FIP and xFIP that say it is all legitimate. He is outperforming Santiago Casilla by a substantial margin and has closed for the A’s before. It is reasonable to think that Madson may find himself in the saves picture sooner than later. The A’s will likely be sellers in the trade market and that could mean that Casilla, Madson or both are pitching in different cities (though time will tell). If you are searching for opportunity in a reliever, take a shot on Madson. Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings: PositionPosted CatcherApril 25 First BaseApril 26 Second BaseMay 1 Third BaseMay 4 ShortstopMay 8 Outfield-- Starting Pitcher-- Relief Pitcher-- [...]



White Sox Sign Luis Robert

2017-05-27T15:46:00+00:00

The White Sox have officially signed Cuban outfielder Luis Robert, and he’ll receive a $26MM bonus, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com tweets. The deal is of the minor-league variety, according to the White Sox’ team announcement. Chicago had long been seen as one of the top suitors for the highly-regarded Robert, with reports noting that the White…The White Sox have officially signed Cuban outfielder Luis Robert, and he’ll receive a $26MM bonus, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com tweets. The deal is of the minor-league variety, according to the White Sox’ team announcement. Chicago had long been seen as one of the top suitors for the highly-regarded Robert, with reports noting that the White Sox and Cardinals were the favorites to land the 19-year-old outfielder.  The Padres, Reds, Astros, and Athletics were also linked to Robert. Since Robert is subject to international bonus pools, the White Sox had to far exceed their pool limit ($2.973MM) to make the signing.  Since every dollar spent over the pool limit comes at a 100% luxury tax, the Sox will actually pay in the $50-$60MM range to sign Robert, between both his bonus and the overage tax. In addition, the White Sox will be penalized for exceeding their bonus pool in this international signing period (which ends on June 15) by being limited to signings of no more than $300K in each of the next two signing periods.  Notably, the White Sox were the only known Robert suitor who hadn’t yet exceeded their pool limit for the 2016-17 signing period.  Baseball America’s Ben Badler recently observed that Chicago hadn’t lined up any deals with highly-touted prospects for the coming July 2 period, which served as a hint that the Sox were planning to take themselves out of the international prospect running by signing Robert. Since the international bonus pool system will be much stricter under the new collective bargaining agreement, however, Robert was seen as the last blue chip international talent available under the pre-existing rules, which end on June 15.  It therefore made sense for him to sign as quickly as possible in order to score a larger payday than he would’ve by waiting until the next July 2 period, and it also made sense for the White Sox to make this last-second splash while they still could.  As we’ve seen in recent years, several teams have employed the strategy of far exceeding their pool limit in order to sign one or several highly-regarded international prospects during one signing period, essentially sacrificing two future years under penalty to make one big splurge. Robert comes with enough promise that it is clear to see why the White Sox felt he was worth the risk.  Considered by many evaluators to be the second-best international prospect in the world (behind only Japan’s Shohei Otani), Robert hit .314/.409/.467 over 192 games and 711 plate appearances in the Serie Nacional a[...]



Tigers Place Ian Kinsler On DL, Designate William Cuevas

2017-05-27T15:38:00+00:00

The Tigers announced this morning that they’ve placed second baseman Ian Kinsler on the 10-day DL with a left hamstring strain. In addition, they’ve optioned lefty Chad Bell to Triple-A Toledo, recalled outfielder JaCoby Jones from Toledo, purchased the contract of righty Arcenio Leon and designated righty William Cuevas for assignment. Kinsler left a game…The Tigers announced this morning that they’ve placed second baseman Ian Kinsler on the 10-day DL with a left hamstring strain. In addition, they’ve optioned lefty Chad Bell to Triple-A Toledo, recalled outfielder JaCoby Jones from Toledo, purchased the contract of righty Arcenio Leon and designated righty William Cuevas for assignment. Kinsler left a game last Saturday due to hamstring trouble, but returned to play this week. He generally struggled, however, batting 4-for-22 since Saturday. It isn’t clear how long he’ll need to be out. The team has Andrew Romine and Dixon Machado to take his place. Jones also played shortstop during his early years in the minors, but has never played second base as a pro and figures as more of a third baseman and outfielder at this point. The 30-year-old Leon pitched well for Toledo (3.15 ERA, 7.6 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 in 20 innings, earning what could be his first taste of big-league action after 12 seasons in the Astros, Brewers, White Sox and Tigers systems. His roster spot comes at the expense of Cuevas, who posted a 4.06 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 34 1/3 innings in the Mud Hens’ rotation. Cuevas also appeared once for the Tigers this year, allowing four runs in just a third of an inning.[...]



AL Notes: Jimenez, Kintzler, Hahn, Johnson

2017-05-27T14:58:00+00:00

The Orioles have moved righty Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen, tweets Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The 33-year-old Jimenez is struggling for the second consecutive season, posting a 7.17 ERA, 6.8 K/9 and a way-too-high 5.3 BB/9 in 42 2/3 innings over nine outings so far. Jimenez is in the last season of a four-year, $50MM…The Orioles have moved righty Ubaldo Jimenez to the bullpen, tweets Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The 33-year-old Jimenez is struggling for the second consecutive season, posting a 7.17 ERA, 6.8 K/9 and a way-too-high 5.3 BB/9 in 42 2/3 innings over nine outings so far. Jimenez is in the last season of a four-year, $50MM deal that largely hasn’t worked out for Baltimore. It appears the O’s will go forward with a rotation of Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Wade Miley, and Alec Asher, who has thrived in a bullpen role this season and who’s set to start tomorrow. Here’s more from the American League. The Twins have not seriously considered extending closer Brandon Kintzler, 1500ESPN’s Darren Wolfson tweets. Kintzler is eligible for free agency this winter, so Wolfson suggests he could become a trade chip later this summer. Of course, the Twins are currently, and somewhat surprisingly, in first place, so while they don’t appear to be considering an extension for Kintzler, a trade probably isn’t yet on their radar either. It would perhaps be mildly surprising if the Twins were considering extending Kintzler, since he’ll be 33 in early August. The righty is, however, off to a strong start this season, posting a 1.71 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 12 saves, albeit with a modest 5.6 K/9. In an expected move, the Athletics have announced that they’ve placed righty Jesse Hahn on the 10-day DL with a right triceps strain. To take his place in their rotation, they’ve recalled righty Jharel Cotton from Triple-A Nashville. Hahn’s recent MRI didn’t reveal any structural damage, although it still appeared likely he’d need to head to the DL. Hahn isn’t the only Athletics starting pitcher to encounter injury trouble lately — Kendall Graveman is dealing with shoulder trouble and could require a DL stint of his own. In another expected move, the Red Sox have announced that they’ve promoted lefty Brian Johnson to start today, with righty Ben Taylor heading to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room on their 25-man. As Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal notes, Johnson’s stay in the big leagues could be brief with David Price about to return from the DL. But Johnson has a chance to make a statement to a Red Sox team that has struggled to find good rotation depth this season, with Kyle Kendrick and Hector Velazquez struggling in scattered starts and Henry Owens walking 6.6 batters per nine innings at Pawtucket[...]



FanDuel MLB Cheat Sheet: Saturday, May 27th (UPDATED – LATE)

2017-05-27T14:22:00+00:00

Hello Fake Baseballers! Are you ready for another six months of the daily baseball grind? I know I am. And…Hello Fake Baseballers! Are you ready for another six months of the daily baseball grind? I know I am. And…(image)



DraftKings Cheat Sheet, Saturday, May 27th (UPDATED – LATE)

2017-05-27T14:21:00+00:00

Hello Fake Baseballers! Are you ready for another six months of the daily baseball grind? I know I am. And…Hello Fake Baseballers! Are you ready for another six months of the daily baseball grind? I know I am. And…(image)



NL West Notes: Kazmir, Segedin, Arroyo, Margot, Bettis, Wall

2017-05-27T13:44:00+00:00

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says that starting pitcher Scott Kazmir’s velocity is up to 90-92 MPH as he rehabs his injured hip, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweets. That’s close to Kazmir’s typical regular-season velocity, which has sat in the low 90s over the past several seasons. It’s still unclear when Kazmir will…Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says that starting pitcher Scott Kazmir’s velocity is up to 90-92 MPH as he rehabs his injured hip, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweets. That’s close to Kazmir’s typical regular-season velocity, which has sat in the low 90s over the past several seasons. It’s still unclear when Kazmir will return to the team, however. The hip has been an ongoing problem for Kazmir, as has his velocity, which was well below 90 MPH at various points in Spring Training. He has not yet pitched in the Majors or minors this season. As long as their other pitchers remain healthy, though, the Dodgers should be able to get by without him — they have Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Brandon McCarthy already available and Hyun-Jin Ryu and Julio Urias waiting in the wings. Here’s more from the NL West. Dodgers corner infielder Rob Segedin is set to have wrist surgery on Wednesday and will miss four to six weeks, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick tweets. Segedin was hurt while batting as he was rehabbing an earlier injury to his toe. The 28-year-old was one of Triple-A Oklahoma City’s top hitters last year, and he was off to a good start before succumbing to injury last month, batting .324/.342/.541 in 38 plate appearances. He’s also collected 87 big-league plate appearances over the last two seasons. With Giants rookie Christian Arroyo going through an extended lull at the plate, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that it’s plausible to imagine him being optioned. With Aaron Hill and Conor Gillaspie both nearing returns from injury, and some alternatives on hand at Triple-A, San Francisco may have little choice but to see if it can get more production elsewhere — while letting Arroyo iron out the kinks back at Sacramento. As SB Nation’s Grant Brisbee further writes, the move makes all the more sense when considering the fact that Eduardo Nunez’s glove likely doesn’t belong in left field. The Padres have placed young center fielder Manuel Margot in a walking boot as a precautionary measure, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Margot’s calf issue is likely to send him to the 10-day DL, it seems, though the team is waiting to make a final decision. Through exactly 200 plate appearances on the year, Margot is hitting .259/.305/.389 with four home runs and five stolen bases[...]



Roto Riteup May 27, 2017

2017-05-27T13:00:00+00:00

Jake Lamb cannot be stopped. @KleinschmidtJD Rake Lamb — Kalvin Lowry (@KoLow710) May 27, 2017 He hit home run number 14 Friday night against the Brewers and is now hosting a .282/.373/.586 line with a career-high .292 ISO. Lamb struggles big time against lefties with just eight hits in 48 at-bats. The team is continuing […]Jake Lamb cannot be stopped. @KleinschmidtJD Rake Lamb — Kalvin Lowry (@KoLow710) May 27, 2017 He hit home run number 14 Friday night against the Brewers and is now hosting a .282/.373/.586 line with a career-high .292 ISO. Lamb struggles big time against lefties with just eight hits in 48 at-bats. The team is continuing to be patient with him and exposing him to more southpaws (much like what the Marlins were planning on doing with Justin Bour). When Lamb spoke hesitantly on the subject it was pretty clear Torey Lovullo and the team is making sure he sees those opposite arms more. So don’t expect him to ride the pine pony when a lefty starts on the bump. On the Agenda News and Notes Lowrie…really? Probable DFS Pitchers News and Notes -Blue Jays infielders Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson have been activated from the disabled list, but they will not be starting on Saturday against the Rangers. -Speaking of Rangers, 31-year-old Dillon Gee was just promoted by the team Friday and has yet to make his 2017 major league debut. Across 51 innings for Triple-A Round Rock, Gee had a 3.88 ERA with 43 strikeouts. -More Rangers news. A.J. Griffin has been placed on the D.L. with a left intercostal strain. –Masahiro Tanaka does not play for the Rangers, but he did have a career-high 13 strikeouts Friday in the loss to Oakland. –Max Scherzer is still a tremendous pitcher. In his outing against the Padres Friday, he tossed 13 strikeouts. He gave up a bomb to Ryan Schimpf, but none of us are perfect. He’s pretty close, though. Lowrie…really? Yes really. Jed Lowrie. And like one of the most memorable movie quotes thanks to Will Ferrell says: “he’s so hot right now.” (I use that a lot, but it’s so good). The A’s infielder is slashing a .588/.611/1.000 line over the last seven days and has hit six balls over the fence so far. His hard contact rate is through the roof sitting at 39.6-percent with a 9.2-percent home run to fly ball ratio. Grab him in any way possible in any format and that value will raise when he’s no longer sporting the green and gold. That wasn’t me leaking news, that’s just me reminding you of Billy Beane. Probable DFS Pitchers Marco Estrada vs. Texas Rangers Stephen Strasburg vs. San Diego Padres Zack Greinke @ Milwaukee Brewers Dallas Keuchel (didn’t land on the D.L.) vs. Baltimore Orioles Kyle Freeland vs. St. Louis Cardinals    [...]



Huston Street should be back soon for the embattled Angels

2017-05-27T12:11:00+00:00

Closer Monkey - Instant emails for every closer change. Closer depth charts to keep you ahead. May 27, 2017 Los Angeles Angels — Bud Norris hadn’t pitched since Monday, so Mike Scioscia called on him in the eighth inning of a game the Angels trailed by five. And, naturally, because these are the Angels, he left the game with a right knee injury. The good news for … Continue reading The post Huston Street should be back soon for the embattled Angels appeared first on Closer Monkey.Closer Monkey - Instant emails for every closer change. Closer depth charts to keep you ahead. May 27, 2017 Los Angeles Angels — Bud Norris hadn’t pitched since Monday, so Mike Scioscia called on him in the eighth inning of a game the Angels trailed by five. And, naturally, because these are the Angels, he left the game with a right knee injury. The good news for LA is twofold: Norris is supposedly day-to-day, and both Huston Street and Cam Bedrosian are almost ready to return from the disabled list. Street should be back first (eligible Thursday), but if both he and Bedrosian are healthy come mid-June, we’d give the edge to Cam. If Norris does miss any time before June, we expect David Hernandez and Blake Parker to split save chances. Hernandez has been lights-out with the exception of one bad outing on May 16, while Parker strikes out more than 1.5 batters per inning. Hierarchy remains: Norris | Hernandez | Parker. Toronto Blue Jays — Jason Grilli has been a major disappointment in Toronto this year. His ERA is an ugly 7.20, he hasn’t been locating his slider, and he’s been relegated to low-leverage situations. Filling in at the back of Toronto’s bullpen has been Ryan Tepera, who has yet to give up a run in May (15 IP, 17 K). Tepera struggled in April, but seems to have found his footing, pitching with a late lead in his last two outings. Look for him to be the long-shot option for saves going forward. Updated hierarchy: Osuna | Smith | Tepera. Oakland A’s — Santiago Casilla gave up a run in a non-save situation, bumping his ERA to 4.91 on the year. Meanwhile, Ryan Madson picked up his sixth hold in a perfect eighth inning, lowering his ERA to a tidy 1.86. Casilla hasn’t been terrible, but his K rate is down from the past two years, and he’s walking more batters than normal. With Madson pitching so well behind him, Casilla may be on a shorter leash, making Madson a solid speculative add. Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Madson | Axford. VULTURE SAVE WATCHToday: 1. David Hernandez — Bud Norris has a right knee injury. 2. Jacob Barnes — Corey Knebel blew the save Friday and has gone in two straight. Sunday: 1. Archie Bra[...]



Launch angles — May 27, 2017

2017-05-27T12:00:01+00:00

All the baseball nuggets you need to start your day. The MLB season lasts half the year, and it can be hard for the average fan to keep up. That’s where we come in. Every day during the 2017 regular season, Beyond the Box Score will be recapping all the biggest action from the previous day — with a sabermetric slant, of course — and looking ahead to what today will bring. Yesterday’s biggest play Chris Iannetta sends it to extras — +.354 WPA As we all expected, this game between the Brewers and Diamondbacks has implications for the playoff picture in both the NL Central and West. Despite their 25–23 record, the Brewers still look pretty flukey, if more interesting than anticipated; the Diamondbacks, and their 31–19 record, look like a team with real staying power. When Iannetta came to bat in the 9th, however, the D-Backs were down to their last out. Zack Godley had thrown a very good six innings, striking out six, walking one, and shutting out the Brewers, but the bullpen coughed up runs in the 7th and 8th, putting Arizona down by one. Iannetta, upon hitting this home run, looks absolutely thrilled. You can really sense the energy he’s feeling as he rounds first base: From 2012–14, Iannetta had a three-year stretch in which he ran a 116 wRC+ over more than 1,000 PAs. Since then, he’s been a substantially below-average hitter in both 2015 (79 wRC+) and 2016 (77 wRC+), so his current 102 wRC+ is a welcome return to form for him. Baseball Prospectus measures Iannetta as a below-average defensive catcher for his career — -94.3 runs total, or about 13 runs lost per full season — so if he’s going to contribute, it’ll have to be on offense. Last night was part of a good start to the season in that respect, and a crucial part of the Diamondbacks eventual victory over the Brewers. Chris Owings and Jake Lamb would double in the top of the 10th, and Fernando Rodney would close it out in the bottom. Yesterday’s best game score Max Scherzer and Tim Adleman — 86 Game Score was developed by Bill James as a quick way to evaluate a starting pitcher’s performance. The score begins at 50, with points added for outs and strikeouts, and subtracted for walks, hits, and runs. A score of 70 is very good; a score of 90 is outstanding. It’s a tie! Who doesn’t love ties? Answer: me. Which of these starts is more deserving of the highly prestigious recognition of this recap? Let’s break it down. First, let’s note that an 86 is not just a good game score, but a great game score. There were only 44 games above 85 in all of 2016, and of those games, none of them had as few strikeouts as Adleman’s start last night. Those four sh[...]



Bullpen Notes: May 26, 2017: Madson, Parker & Vizcaino All Gaining Value & More

2017-05-27T12:00:00+00:00

Are you following @Rotoprofessor on Twitter? If not you should be, as we Tweet out all the important bullpen notes every morning from the previous day’s games. Who is in jeopardy of losing their job? Who is worth the speculative add? Here are this morningAre you following @Rotoprofessor on Twitter? If not you should be, as we Tweet out all the important bullpen notes every morning from the previous day’s games. Who is in jeopardy of losing their job? Who is worth the speculative add? Here are this morning tweets (Please note we won’t be posting these on the website every day, so make sure you follow @Rotoprofessor to ensure you don’t miss a thing): OAK: Non-SV but Casilla struggles (1 R/1 H/2 BB). w/6 R over 4.1 IP in past 5 Madson becoming must stash #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 LAA: Norris pulled after 3 pitches & could mean new hole for team. Parker worth stashing just in case #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 ATL: Johnson bounces back after BSV last time out (2 K). Safe for now, but Vizcaino quickly gaining ground #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 MIL: Knebel w/BSV due to HR (1 R/2 H/1 K). It happens to everyone & shouldn't cause concern (1st HR allowed) #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 CIN: Iglesias gets final 2 outs for SV (1 K). Continues to be used as traditional closer & thats a good thing #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 ARI: Another SV for Rodney, now 9 straight scoreless gamess (2 H/3 BB/5 K). Nice run but still lots of risk #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 MIA: Ramos gets 1 out SV after Barraclough/defense struggles (2 R/0.2 IP). w/5.28 ERA hard to consider safe #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 TB: Colome gets 4 out SV (2 K). The big question is whether or not gets traded to contender because 1 of best #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 TOR: After Smith struggles (3 R/3 H/0.2 IP) Osuna called on for 1 out SV. He's as safe as it comes right now #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 HOU: Interesting to see Devenski in 8th before Giles. Still Harris to be viewed as likely next up if needed #MLB #FantasyBaseball #closers — Rotoprofessor (@Rotoprofessor) May 27, 2017 BOS: Kimbrel gets SV w/o a K. What gives?!?! It's amazing the season he's put together when that's a story #MLB #FantasyBaseball #clos[...]