Tag Archives: Zach Grienke

AL at a Glance 4/9

by mrCane

Before we start this, I want to point out that everything we know can end without warning.  Nick Adenhart, a 22 year old pitcher from the Anaheim Angels was killed this morning when his car was struck by a van.  I obviously don’t know Nick, his friends, his family but want to acknowledge the tradgedy of what took place.  No one deserves to pass at the age of 22.

So far in this young season there have some performers who have stood out.  Many are people you would expect by their draft position, others are nice surprises.  Some we can expect this trend to continue, while others are much less likely to continue with their current performance.

Adam Lind has 2 HR including his 6rbi game against Detroit.  He is a kid I expect will continue his current trend, though not at this pace.  Two Detroit pitchers, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello, have had very similar results.  The difference between the two is many owners drafted Verlander as a top 40 pitcher while Porcello in any league but a keeper probably went undrafted.  Fantasy Advice:  Ride the Lind wave, I feel like he is going to have a very good year; say 20hr 85rbi.  Verlander you should dump and get as much as you can from any owner willing to pay for the name.  Porcello is a guy strictly for keepers as he plays on a team with an awful bullpen.

Most of the Minnesota pitching staff has been medicore, which is suprising because they were at home against a lowly Mariners offense.  Glen Perkins was the one exception going 8IP 1ER.  Brandon Morrow finally got his first save of the year after his loss of control in his first appearance.  Fantasy Advice:  I like all the Minnesota pitchers, mostly for matchups.  Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey are all guys I start every week.  Glen Perkins and Nick Blackburn are decent larger mixed league options for the right match up.

A couple things I want to point out from the Orioles verse Yankees series.  An offense of Brian Robers, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Aubrey Huff will cause fits for many of the teams in the AL EAST, and this is without Matt Wieters who hasn’t been called up yet.   Adam Jones in particular looked good, driving the ball to right center off Sabathia.  While CC looked bad, AJ Burnett was able to be quite effective going 51/3 IP with 6 strike outs.  The notoriously slow starters Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira both homered.  Nick Swisher even got the start and took advantage with a home run of his own.  Fantasy Advice:  Jump on the Jones bandwagon, I have been since spring training.  He will be 20/20 this year.  Be patient with CC but Burnett is a guy I never like on my team, deal him after a few good outings and avoid the DL stint.

Tampa Bay pitchers Matt Garza and Scott Kazmir looked great against the Red Sox.  With James Shields Tampa has 3 top 30 starting pitchers.  Throw in the ever steady Andy Sonnanstine and David Price waiting in the wings; Tampa has the horses to repeat as Division champs.  David Ortiz performance thus far is discouraging, even with the very small sample size.  The Red Sox and fantasy homers need Big Papi to approach 30hr this year to justify his draft day value.  Fantasy Advice:  Look for a guy like Garza, you might be able to still get him cheap, you won’t in a couple weeks.  If you can get some name recognition from a Big Papi fan, deal the slugger away.  It kills me as a sox fan but I think Ortiz is only good for 25hr this year, not worth his draft day price.

Kyle Davies was a source of hype as a sleeper pitcher and he lived up to that bill in his first start.  Unfortunately he was matched pitch by pitch by John Danks.  Jim Thome was a slugger I targeted late on draft day.  I feel Thome is a lock for 30hr with the possibilty of hitting more depending on his health.  The Royals pitching with Meche, Grienke and Davies is actually a formidable 1, 2, 3 combination with a closer to slam the door.  Fantasy Advice:  Danks I like to be a top 35 pitcher by years end and Davies seems like a viable larger mix league option now. 

The Cleveland Indians will not win the AL Central.  They don’t have the pitching to pull it off.  Carl Pavano is their third starter and Cliff Lee will regress from last years stellar performance.  Their offense is good, evidence by Grady Sizemores 2 hr game, but not great with lots of guys who strike out.  Kevin Millwood looked good in his first outing and has an offense to back him up.  Nelson Cruz is on the board with a 2 hr game, he may have finally arrived.  Fantasy Advice:  Sell sell sell Cliff Lee if you can, while I don’t think is as bad as his first start, I do see a 4 ERA and 12 wins, not what you expect if you draft him as your number 1 pitcher.  Kelly Shoppach is the guy behind the plate, check your waiver wire for a 20hr catcher. 

It didn’t take long for Brian Fuentes to raise doubts about his ability to close games in the AL.  With two great arms in back of him (Jose Arredondo, Scott Shields) he won’t have much of a leash with Mike Scioscia.  Oaklands young guns, Trevor Cahill and Brett Anderson, are both in the starting rotation and Brad Ziegler is the closer with Joey Devine out of the picture and in Dr. Andrews office.  Fantasy Advice:  I’m not sold on Fuentes, if you have a spot on your bench I would grab Arredondo.  Stay away from the young Oakland pitchers, though they will have good outings, they will be inconsistent and frustrating.

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AL at a Glance

by mrCane

Mike Jacobs (KC 1B) hit his league leading 6th homerun of the spring.  In addition he is tied with Josh Hamilton for the league lead in RBI with 17 while batting a robust .327.  Fantasy Advice:  Draft Jacobs late in drafts for his 30hr power potential.

Wilson Betemit and Josh Fields (CHW 3B), this is a situation worth monitoring because the winner is likely the starter for the Chi Sox.  Both guys are having great springs batting .341 and .413 respectively.  Betemit is actually only a year older than Fields at 27 years of age and has 6 hr this spring, twice as many as Fields.  Fantasy Advice:  It does seem Fields has the job but warrants a roster spot more in AL only leagues at this point.  Monitor both individuals progress!

A couple young guys to keep an eye on are Billy Butler (.348 3hr), Adam Jones (.341 7sb) and Nelson Cruz (5hr .906SLG).  All three are big time prospects who’s time may have arrived.  I could see Butler pulling off a .300 85 20 90, Jones a .290 90 18 90 25 and Cruz .270 90 25 90 10 season this year.  Fantasy Advice:  Look for these guys late in drafts for cheap but productive alternatives to their older counterparts.  All of them should be taken in 12 team roto mixed leagues.

Coco Crisp (KC cf) and Alexi Casilla (MIN 2B) are a couple of guys flying under the radar.  Coco is having a great spring with 2hr 2sb .417 which are reminiscent of his Cleveland days (20/20 type player).  He is guaranteed a starting gig in KC.  Casilla offers decent SB potential toward the end of all drafts.  He is a good hitter, who will hit toward the top of the Minnesota lineup, score runs and swipe about 20.  Fantasy Advice:  Both have larger mixed league potential.

What do Francisco Liriano and Zach Grienke have in common?  They both have 19K through 21 IP this spring.  The difference is Liriano has an era about 6 runs lower than Grienke.  Grienke has been getting pounded, but don’t get scared away.  Fantasy Advice:  Take Liriano as 1 or 1A type guy and Grienke as a solid number 3 who has the potential to pitch like a #2.

A couple young guys to keep an eye on, none who have starting jobs as of right now are Clay Buchholz (BOS sp), Trevor Cahill (OAK sp) and Brett Anderson (OAK sp).  They have era’s of 0.46, 3.94 and 2.25 respectively.  Buchholz is the better strike out guy with 15 in 19IP but all could be very useful by years end.  Fantasy Advice:  Get these guys in keeper leagues and monitor their progress for this year, they could all make an impact.

John Lackey (ANA sp) has some discomfort in his elbow recently.  This is a wait and see because Lackey insists he is ok, nothing like the injury last year.  Fantasy Advice:  If guys like Shields, Beckett, King Felix, Liriano or Chad Billingsley are on the board I would take them before Lackey.  Let someone else deal with the injury, you can have a perfectly healthy pitcher with the same numbers.

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5×5 Draft Recap – Part 3

By mrcane

If you have read the “About Us” page on this blog you know that we are 5 guys that have been doing fantasy baseball together for over 10 years and this weekend was a BIG weekend. Saturday was a 12 team H2H points league draft that all 5 of us participated in and Sunday was a 15 team 5×5 Rotisserie league that all 5 of us participated in.

Since the H2H points league is a keeper league that allows draft pick trading it would be tough to explain why we did things where since each team had vastly different situations on draft day. But….the 5×5 draft was a start from scratch 5×5 league with 20 rosters spots where everybody starts. Over the next few days each of us will give a recap of our draft and hopefully provide some insight on what we were thinking and how it all panned out.

Team: Hurricanes

Draft Position (Typical Serpentine Draft): 6th

Rounds 1, 2, 3: Putting my strategy to work worked great the first three rounds landing Jimmy Rollins, Alfonso Soriano and Matt Kemp. All guys are going to steal 25 with Rollins capable of 40. What makes it even better is that all three will hit 20 HR too.

Round 4 and 5: My fourth round pick was Joey Votto, who I feel went a little early but was a legit power hitter who I really coveted. I followed that up with a 5×5 guy in Bobby Abreu. I loved Abreu in that spot for his 100 20 100 20 ability. That gave me 4 out of my first 5 picks all being guys who contribute in all categories.

Round 6 and 7 I finally took my first couple pitchers in James Shields and Felix Hernandez. Getting two 1A type guys as this point while using my first 5 picks on hitters will no doubt pay off later on in the season.

Round 8 I was able to grab Adrian Beltre. I do feel this pick came a round or two early but my thoughts on this pick was getting a guy who can hit 25 hr and chip in with some SB as a weak position is extremely valuable. He is very consistent and happens to be in a walk year so I’m expecting some big things from Beltre.

Round 9 So I went back towards pitching getting Zach Grienke as my 3rd starter. I love Zach’s strike out potential (about 175) as a middle of the rotation guy. His peripherals are also great which are extremely important in a 5×5 league.

Round 10 I went back to the offense and grabbed James Loney, a young high upside guy who will bat .300. Being able to snag another guy who can hit 20hr and bat .300 at this stage of the draft was exciting.

Round 11-14 I went all pitching and was able to land John Danks, Randy Johnson, Trevor Hoffman and Frank Francisco respectively. My rotation now has 5 guys who can top 150 K with low whips. Since I don’t consider saves to be very important in a draft being able to land two guys with definite starting jobs to start the season is huge. Carlos Marmol went about 6 rounds earlier and he doesn’t have a starting position yet.

The rest of my draft filled out with Jim Thome, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Lyon, Jose Guillen, Alexi Casilla and Ramon Hernandez (who could be top 10 playing in Cinncinati). I completely punted 2B and C because no one of significance fell to me in the draft. The guy I thought I could get, Alexi Ramirez went three picks before I could take him. After that I had my mind made up to wait until the end of the draft and I wound up with a guy in Casilla who can steal 20 while hitting at the top of the Twins order and the aforementioned Hernandez. Grabbing Thome and Guillen provided a little punch and Sandoval should chip in to counter the low batting averages.

Overall I thought my strategy worked out perfectly. I was able to get a lot of guys I targeted, now we just need to wait and see if my intuitions were correct.

My thoughts going into the draft was to acquire as many guys who contribute in 5 categories as possible. I’m not necessarily looking for guys with good averages, just trying to avoid those with bad averages. Drafting hitting first was my number one priority, as I feel that pitching is deep enough to avoid for the first several rounds. Another strategy I was employing was to avoid closers for as long as possible. One category guys are not that valuable. I ended up with 3 guys, all who should close for there respective teams. As soon as the season starts I trade a closer for a hitter, and usually the hitter is better than the guy I would have taken with my 17th round pick.

Projected Finish*: 15 out of 15 (62 total points)

(R: 4, HR: 6, RBI: 7, SB: 9, BA: 2, W: 3, Sv: 13, K: 7, ERA: 1, WHIP: 10)

* Based on Sportsline.com projections

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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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