Need a Catcher?
CincyJ.P. Arencibia – All he does is hit home runs and that’s fine with me. Somehow he’s still available in 40% of ESPN leagues. I wouldn’t bet against him hitting 30 homers this year, albeit with a low OBP, but you wouldn’t complain about a .500 slugging, would you?
Bottom of the 9thDevin Mesoraco will step into the starters role in the wake of the Cincinnati Reds placing Ryan Hanigan on the 15-day disabled list. Presently Mesoraco is hitting .281 with an even 6:6 K/BB ratio. He is yet to hit a home run this year, but playing half of his games in a very favorable park for right-handed hitters, the dingers will come with time. He slugged five home runs in not even 200 PA’s last season so the power is there for more long balls to come with more playing time. If he hits and receives well enough in Hanigans stead, Mesoraco could wrestle more playing time away from the veteran. For those of you in two catcher leagues, Mesoraco is ownabled as long as Hanigan is out. You can find Mesoraco available in over 90% of the three major fantasy websites.
Bullpen ReportEdward Mujica has been given a shot at closing. I called Mujica a sleeper for saves last week in this space, and he’s notched the last two saves for the Cardinals, with the most recent coming Monday. He’s given up just one run on five hits and one walk in 7.1 innings this year while striking out eight, making him the strongest performer of the three late-inning guys on the team. Mujica has a history of excellent control, having held his walk rate under 2.0 per nine innings each season since 2008. There are two knocks against him: he gives up far too many home runs and his strikeout rate vacillates between being strong and mediocre. However, if his batted ball profile can level out to its levels over the last few years, when he’s limited the number of fly balls surrendered, he should be a reliable ninth-inning guy who gives up the occasional home run. If Motte gets shelved for the rest of the year after being re-evaluated, Mujica could have a very valuable fantasy season.
Fernando Rodney allowed five earned runs in 2012. In 2013 Rodney has now allowed four, including one tonight against the Yankees. Before 2012, Rodney’s career BB/9 was 4.9, last year that dropped to 1.81 and this year it’s 8.1. I’m not sounding the alarm on Rodney quite yet, but his control is certainly something to look out for. If it doesn’t improve and Rodney reverts closer to his pre-2012 form, it’s unlikely that he’ll hold onto the job all year. Joel Peralta is worth owning for his ratios and with Rodney’s seemingly under the radar problems thus far this year, I’d take a flier on Peralta.
Darling of the Waiver Wire
How long until Félix Hernández wins another 100As an injury replacement for Aramis Ramirez or a stopgap until Brett Lawrie gets his feet under him, Chris Johnson is probably the best bet out there. He’s hotter than a two dollar pistol at a time when many of the top third baseman aren’t providing a lot of value, but this is probably as close to his peak value as he’ll get this season. Unless someone hitting .280 with 11 HR is going to be the difference between winning and losing this season, he’s not worth emptying the free agent coffers for, and if you can find decent value for him, trade him.
Where Have All The Stolen Bases GoneIt took him four tries, but Monday night Félix Hernández finally picked up his 100th win. What's particularly notable about this feat is that Hernández is particularly young for such a feat. According to Elias: Among pitchers who began their career since divisional play began in 1969, only five reached 100 wins at a younger age than Hernandez (27 years, 14 days old):
Teams ran a lot in the 1990s, as the influences of 1980s-style baseball continued, but then stolen base rates plummeted as home run rates rose and teams began to adjust to a new level of offensive success. The league stolen base rate bottomed out in 2004, and then started to climb again the last few years as the rise in strikeouts pushed offensive levels back down to pre-”Steroid Era” levels. While overall attempts hadn’t quite gotten back to where they were in the mid-1990s, they were close, and seemed to be trending upwards
Head-to-Head Risers and Fallers for Week 4
Roto ArcadeMichael Morse is someone that you hopefully stayed away from in points leagues, as a high-strikeout, low-walking fool with a knack for prolonged slumps. After hitting six home runs in his first nine games, Morse is 5-for-35 with no home runs, nine strikeout and two walks in his last eight. I believe in the power and still see 30 home runs coming from the Seattle lumberjack, but it's not enough to make up for the 26.7 percent strikeout rate and four percent walk rate that he currently holds. After a 0-for-5 last night against Brad Peacock and the Astros, Morse is hitting .214/.267/.500. He has one run and one RBI in his last eight games. The time to sell Morse is gone, so now you'll have to hope for another hot streak of home runs. When that time comes, sell, sell, sell!
Sample SizeMilwaukee skipper Ron Roenicke is giving Jean Segura plenty of chances to run; Segura has a swipe in four consecutive games (Friday night's running mishap didn't stem the tide at all). Batting eye hasn't been an issue (five walks, two in the past two games), the contact rate is solid (84 percent), and obviously you're going to score plenty of runs if you get on base in front of Ryan Braun and company. What's not to like here? Time for a new Segura projection, amigos. It's mulligan time. Let's put him down for a finishing line of .283-89-7-48-33. He'll end the year close to universally owned, though he's oddly unclaimed in 41 percent of Yahoo! leagues as we go to press
WheelerIt is well know amongst fantasy circles that Petco Park is one of the best pitchers parks in baseball, so when streaming a starting pitcher, you made sure you streamed a pitcher slate to start at Petco in the hope that you would get a quality start. Over the last few seasons, it has been very difficult to hit a home run in Petco. Here is how Petco ranked amongst the 29 other stadiums over the last 5 years in home runs allowed, courtesy of the Ballpark Factors at ESPN:
- 2008: 30th
- 2009: 29th
- 2010: 22nd
- 2011: 23rd
- 2012: 28th
- 2013: 4th
Kevin Kernan of the New York Post spoke to a Mets official during last night’s 7-2 loss to the Dodgers and the subject of Mets prospect Zack Wheeler came up after an injured Jon Niese came out of the game and potential options were discussed. “If Zack Wheeler wants to be here, start throwing strikes,” a Mets official told The Post. “I don’t want to hear about anything else. Throw strikes.’’ This is still a production oriented game, added Kernan, and Wheeler simply does not deserve to be promoted at this point. “Yes, he has a golden right arm, but it’s time to transform that talent into forcing the Mets’ hand.” Wheeler, who is still winless, has a 4.91 ERA in four starts for Triple-A Las Vegas and has allowed 12 walks and 20 hits in 18.1 innings pitched.
Blue Jays (8-13) @ Orioles (12-8), 12:35 pm
TOR: Brandon Morrow (28, RHP, 0-2, 5.57)
BAL: Josh Stinson (25, RHP, 0-0, undef)
Mariners (8-14) @ Astros (6-14), 2:10 pm
SEA: Joe Saunders (32, LHP, 1-2, 4.50)
HOU: Lucas Harrell (28, RHP, 1-2, 4.98)
Indians (8-10) @ WhiteSox (7-12), 2:10 pm
CLE: Zach McAllister (25, RHP, 1-2, 3.12)
CHW: Jose Quintana (24, LHP, 1-0, 2.55)
Athletics (13-8) @ RedSox (13-7), 4:05 pm
OAK: Brett Anderson (25, LHP, 1-3, 5.95)
BOS: Jon Lester (29, LHP, 3-0, 1.73)
Royals (10-7) @ Tigers (9-9), 7:08 pm
KCR: Wade Davis (27, RHP, 2-0, 2.25)
DET: Max Scherzer (28, RHP, 1-0, 2.84)
Yankees (11-8) @ Rays (9-11), 7:10 pm
NYY: Andy Pettitte (41, LHP, 3-0, 2.01)
TBR: Alex Cobb (25, RHP, 2-1, 2.53)
Rangers (13-7) @ Angels (8-11), 10:05 pm
TEX: Yu Darvish (26, RHP, 3-1, 2.03)
LAA: Michael Roth (23, LHP, 1-0, 3.60)
Cubs (6-13) @ Reds (12-9), 12:35 pm
CHC: Jeff Samardzija (28, RHP, 1-3, 3.38)
CIN: Mat Latos (25, RHP, 0-0, 2.73)
Cardinals (12-8) @ Nationals (10-10), 1:05 pm
STL: Jaime Garcia (26, LHP, 1-1, 3.22)
WSN: Stephen Strasburg (24, RHP, 1-3, 2.96)
Braves (15-5) @ Rockies (13-7), 3:10 pm
ATL: Tim Hudson (37, RHP, 2-1, 4.50)
COL: Tyler Chatwood (23, RHP, 0-0, undef)
D'backs (11-9) @ Giants (13-8), 3:45 pm
ARI: Ian Kennedy (28, RHP, 1-2, 5.47)
SFG: Madison Bumgarner (23, LHP, 3-0, 2.05)
Pirates (11-9) @ Phillies (9-12), 7:05 pm
PIT: Wandy Rodriguez (34, LHP, 2-0, 0.56)
PHI: Roy Halladay (36, RHP, 2-2, 6.04)
Dodgers (9-10) @ Mets (9-9), 7:10 pm
LAD: Ted Lilly (37, LHP, 0-0, undef)
NYM: Matt Harvey (24, RHP, 4-0, 0.93)
Brewers (11-8) @ Padres (5-15), 10:10 pm
MIL: Marco Estrada (29, RHP, 2-0, 4.50)
SDP: Edinson Volquez (29, RHP, 0-3, 8.84)