Tag Archives: Kelly Shoppach

Diamonds in the Rough – Fantasy Sleepers

by mrCane

Before the draft there is always talk about sleepers.  This year guys like Nelson Cruz, Chris Volstad and Josh Johnson come to mind.  Now that we are in week two many owners will go into panic mode, cutting guys they had previously thought so highly about.  In many roto leagues it is difficult to understand your teams weaknesses until the first month is complete (assuming its not H2H).  Its ok to make some adjusments before then, but waiving guys simply because they are batting .200 is unjust.  If this same hitter was playing well and went into a 2 week slump but it was June, you would never think twice about keeping them.  Here are some names who have recently been cut, and might be your Diamond in the Rough.

Kelly Shoppach/Ramon Hernandez – Both catchers coming into the year were seen as sleepers.  With Shoppach now in an opportunity to surpass last years AB’s, 20 hr is still a reasonable expectation.  Hernandez playing in that little league park in Cincy should be able to hit just under 20hr.  Now neither player is going to crack to the top tier, but in virtually all leagues, both guys should be owned.

Chien-Ming Wang –  I think people forget that Wang had a major foot injury and didn’t pitch for quite a long time.  I’m not the biggest Wang fan because of his lack of K’s but he should be owned in all AL-only leagues and deeper mixed (say 12 teams or bigger).  If you recall, in 2007 Wang had an ERA north of 5.00 for the month of April.  He finished the season with 19 wins and a 3.70 era. 

John Maine – Maine didn’t come into the season as hyped as last season, but people were optimistic he could be a servicable 3rd or 4th starter depending on the league.  He still has nice strikeout potential, and in match ups (assuming you have a bench) could be more valuable.  Two very important points about Maine; good offense, great bullpen equals wins.

Billy Butler/Pablo Sandoval  – Both of these portly men have been declared by many minds as very good hitters.  One NL scout said Sandoval could flat out hit.  Butler is a little different because he has played this tune before.  No matter how disappointing the first week is, these guys don’t get cut.  Both should hit about .285 reach 15hr and drive in 80 rbi.

These are just a couple names, and there could be others.  In a 15 team mixed league I’m in one owner cut Kelly Johnson the second day of the season.  Keep your eyes open on the waiver wire for players who can help your team.  Chances are if you liked them a couple weeks ago, you should give them a chance to prove their worth.

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AL at a Glance..

by mrCane

Brett Gardner (OF NYY) was able to beat out Melky Cabrera to start in CF for the Bombers.  This is significant because Gardner as the ability to wipe 30 bags with regular playing time.  Fantasy Advice:  Pick this guy up off waivers in larger  Roto leagues for his SB potential.

News out of Cleveland is that Kelly Shoppach is only going to start 2 or 3 days a week.  This isn’t great news for a starting C.  Fantasy Advice:  Hold on to Shoppach because otherwise they are going to have to find Ryan Garko a spot in the lineup, this would not be the best option for the Indians.  Shoppach should register more than 400 AB, plenty for a catcher.

Mark Teahen (OF KC) continues to rake and has even chipped in 3 SB with his 6 hr.  Teahen has teased before, but some ballplayers take longer to develop.  Fantasy Advice:  Teahen is probably available in your leage. He could be a good pickup as a 4th outfielder.

Chris Davis (3B Tex) continues to put his slow start behind him.  His batting average is up to .310 and Davis has 5hr to go with the lofty BAvg.  He has slowed considerably in striking out, but still represents an awful 23K in 71AB, almost 33%!!  Fantasy Advice:  Look for Davis after the top 3B are off the board and expect 30hr.

Taylor Teargarden (C Tex).  Taylor is currently a battle for a starting position with the big switch hitting Jarrod Saltalamachia.  After a slow start Teargarden is beginning to make a case for himself;  .297avg and 3hr.  Fantasy Advice:  As of right now the job goes to Saltalamacchia but Teargarden could take that spot via trade or by performing to the level we expect from him.

Brandon Inge (C Det) Very few people probably even realize Inge does qualify for catcher.  Fantasy Advice:  Any catcher who qualifies and hits 20hr has value. 

Carl Crawford (OF TB)  He’s baaaccckkkk.  Crawford has swiped 7 bags this spring with only 1 caugt stealing.  Fantasy Advice:  Expect numbers around .285 12hr 40sb; lets hope Carl is all done dealing with leg injuries from last year.

Kansas City sent Luke Hochevar(SP) to the minors while giving Sidney Ponson (SP) a chance in the rotation.  Neither warrant any fantasy consideration.

Over in Oakland Brad Ziegler (RP) is going to become a valuable fantasy asset in the absence of Joey Devine and his elbow trouble.  Fantasy Advice:  Add Ziegler in all large mixed or AL only leagues.  Devine has never proved healthy and a visit to Dr. James Andrews is never positive.

Justin Verlander (SP Det) has a deceiving 2.30 era.  Verlander has walked more batters (15) than he has struck out(14).  Fantasy Advice:  At this point Verlander is no higher than top 40, and that may be generous.

Kyle Davies (SP KC) is starting to get some praise by lot’s of baseball people.  Davies is still young (25 years old) and has the ability to put up decent fantasy numbers, evident by last Septembers 4-1   2.27 era display.  Fantasy Advice:  In larger mixed leagues and AL-only leagues Davies now deserves consideration.  He should not be a go to option at this point but may return reliable fantasy numbers in the future.

Watch out for Gavin Floyd (SP ChiW).  Last year Floyd struck out only 145 batters; has 20 strike outs in 21 IP this spring.  Floyd was once a can’t miss, monster prospect with the Phillies organization.  He has a great knock out pitch, his knee buckling curve.  If he keeps pounding the zone, getting ahead of hitters, he will rack up more strikeouts.  Fantasy Advice:  Coming into the season I had Floyd right around top 60, in light of his performance this spring, new contract, and good offensive team I am willing to bump him up a few spots to 45-50 range.

Jon Lester (SP Boston) continues to take steps toward ace material.  More than a strike out per inning with a 1.72 era, on an offensive machine only makes Lester’s value more appealing.  Fantasy Advice:  You will be able to get tremendous value with this pick.  He will be anywhere from the 15th-25th pitcher off the board on draft day.  He might just pitch you a top 10 return as soon as this year. 

Cliff Lee (SP Clev) has been getting pounded this spring.  Lee has given up 37 hits in 16IP.  I know spring stats don’t count for much but they counted for Cliff last year when he had a lights out spring.  His control is still excellent which gives us a sigh of relief; somewhat.  Fantasy Advice:  I’m looking for Lee to take a step back this year but still put up respectable numbers.  He is a top 30 pitcher at this point in my rankings.

Nick Adenhart (SP ANA) is the beneficiary of injuries to the Angels staff.  With injuries to John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar, Adenhart now has the opportunity to start a few games for the Angles this April.  If he pitches well, who knows what could happen from there.  His spring stats are 3.26era  19IP  13/4  K/BB ratio.  Fantasy Advice:  Take a flier on Adenhart in larger mixed leagues, he has the ability to pitch himself into the rotation even as the other return from injuries.

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The AL at a Glance

By mrcane

As we finish another week of preseason baseball and roll toward the starting point some players are performing above and beyond expectations and others are faltering.  Let’s get the most scrutinized player of the year out of the way…Alex Rodriguez will now miss 6 to 9 weeks as reported by most major sources.  From a fantasy perspective if your going to draft him then you better have a reasonable back up because Arod won’t be gracing your lineup until as late as May.  It is reasonable to expect upon his return there will be some muscle atrophy and his numbers will not be what we have come to expect from Alex

….has anyone noticed Ryan Sweeney is leading the AL in hits this spring, and with Oakland’s lack of punch he could find his way into the lineup on a regular basis.  Keep him in mind for AL only leagues and deep mixed

….Jason Lane has resurfaced in Toronto and has 3 spring home runs!  He was a decent option only a few years ago and his performance might be worth monitoring

super prospect Brandon Wood has only 1 strikeout in 17 at bats!  He is batting .471 and with his ADP at 341 he could be a steal on draft day

….in the battle of the Texas backstops J. Saltalamacchia is dominating Teargarden with a tune of .438 BA 3BB 4K to Taylor’s .200 0BB 5K

…..On the downside the highly regarded Chris Davis leads the AL with 11K’s in 22 AB.  Davis is going very early in most drafts because of his power potential at a weak position.  Something to consider would be taking a player like Adrian Beltre and his 20-25 homeruns up to TEN rounds later!  Any player who strikes out that much is going to need time to adjust at the big league level

….Mike Jacobs new team has not helped his numbers, he is batting .208 for his new team

Andruw Jones has continued where he left off last year and is batting .273 with a ton of strikeouts, avoid Jones in all mixed formats

…..Kelly Shoppach has done little to help his case of stealing AB’s away from Travis Hafner, Ryan Garko andVictor Martinez in what could be some kind of rotation for him and V-Mart, Shoppach is batting an awful .133 and because of his position still warrants consideration on draft day in deep mixed leagues and AL only formats

…Alex Gordon just can’t seem to get it in the bigs, his ADP is 176 and for that spot there are better options later on like the previously mentioned Beltre

….Remember Phil Hughes?  How does 6 strike outs in 5 IP with a 0.00 ERA sound?  Hughes has fallen to a 343 ADP and could be a steal on draft day pitching for the Yankees

….Francisco Liriano one year removed from surgery is doing a fine job with 7K to 1BB; he will regain the form of two years ago.  Draft him as a fantasy ace for the K’s, era and whip

…..another super prospect from the Tampa organization Jeff Niemann has had a stellar spring with a 7:1 K:BB ratio, he doesn’t warrant any consideration at this point but if a starter struggles, get’s hurt or David Price stays in the bullpen Niemann might get the call

….John Danks get’s very little respect among fantasy owners being drafted behind the likes of Jeff Weaver and Zach Grienke (who I am a fan of) but Danks has continued where he left off last year with 6K’s and no walks this spring, oh ya his era is 0.00

….and two more words for you “Erik Bedard” has been pretty good, that could be the steal of the draft

….On the downside Justin Verlander remains very hittable and has more BB than K’s this spring

…Jeremy Sowers went from big-time prospect to big-time nothing, he warrants no consideration in any format

….three guys with very high hopes coming into this spring were Cliff Lee, Joba Chamberlain and Brandon Morrow, what they all have in common is an 18.00 era through 1 inning pitched.  Now we shouldn’t let spring stat’s influence our decisions that much but they should make us evaluate our personal rankings. Last year Cliff Lee was lights out during the spring, he should still be drafted in all formats I just think he falls into the 2nd tier of pitchers, not an ace.  Joba has had trouble staying healthy in the past so it will be interesting to see how he does as a starter and Morrow will move into the closer role if he falters, Morrow is the most intriguing of them all.  You can get Morrow late and worst case scenario is he racks up 25 saves in 4 months because he wasn’t a good starter, definately worth a late round pick.

That was quite a glance, and one more time…keep an eye on Bedard.

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