What To Like About Mike

June 26, 2016 | SP Roundup

It wasn't much of a secret that I was really high on Michael Pineda in the preseason. After a 2015 season that indicated major breakout was ahead with luscious K/BB numbers and FIP/xFIP on his side. The first two months of 2016 have been disastrous and how could we possibly continue the faith in Pineda? Well after last night's 6.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 Hits, 1 BBs, 8 Ks, Pineda now holds a 3.00 ERA (2.46 FIP, 2.55 xFIP, 2.72 SIERA), 11.50 K/9 and 1.150 BB/9 in his last five starts. Sure, three were against the Twins (2x) and Angels, but he also squared up against the Tigers twice. I'm not saying that this means he's giving you Top 25 production the rest of the way. What I'm saying is that he's earned a near 15% whiff rate and 40%+ O-Swing rate and looking much better than his earlier self. I'd be getting on the train as he faces the Rangers/White Sox/Indians ahead and see what happens.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Jeurys Familia's Sinker + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs of the Week

June 26, 2016 | GIFs of the Week

Every week we review the nastiest pitches from the previous week in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Jeurys Familia’s Sinker – The Mets closer recorded his 24th save of the season Wednesday, still working to keep the haunting World Series memories at bay. Striking out Paulo Orlando with a filthy Sinker definitely helped his cause. (Thanks to Redditor kelly_ripa for the tip!)

The Stash 6/25: Ranking The Top 10 Pitching Prospects To Stash Every Weekend

June 25, 2016 | Prospect Rankings

Every weekend, Alex is here to write about which minor league pitchers you should be stashing on your team.  This list will range from the top prospects to the more esoteric that should potentially be on your radar. Players who I believe are likely to receive the call to The Show soonest will be at the top and players who may be more of a long term stash will be featured closer to the bottom. Picking up these prospects can be a great way to stay ahead of the curve in your league regardless of whether it’s a deep dynasty league or a shallow 10 teamer.

1. Josh Hader (Milwaukee Brewers) – Well there’s the PCL we know and love! Hader’s most recent start was one he is probably eager to get out of his mind: 3 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 2 BBs, 3 Ks. Take a look at the box score and you’ll notice that a good amount of the damage done against Hader came against Cardinals who had been struggling in the majors. Randal Grichuk hit a two-run homer off him in the first and singled off him in the second. Jeremy Hazelbaker also went 2-2 against him. Despite giving up two in the first and four in the second, Hader retired the side in order in the third, striking out two of three batters, before being pulled. I’m a little bewildered as to why they didn’t let Hader see the 4th considering his success in the 3rd and his low-ish pitch count (72 pitches) but it was likely they just wanted him to end the game on a high note. Guys who’ve struggled in the majors can frequently return to the minors and feast so I’m not too worried about Hader from this one start but it’s certainly a path we don’t want him heading too far down. Interesting note that’s not for nothing: the AAA stadium that Hader is in is the highest professional park in the nation in terms of altitude. As a result Hader was struggling with his breathing, feeling “gassed after his first two innings.”

The Long And Sliding Rodon

June 25, 2016 | SP Roundup

I need to dig deeper into Carlos Rodon. After going 5.2 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 2 BBs, 8 Ks Friday night, his last seven starts have now produced a 3.24 ERA (only one start above 2 ER), a strikeout per inning, and just one outing above 2 walks. Has there been a major adjustment or is this just noise? Well, his velocity has gone up in that time (92.88 mph on May 4th, 95.08 mph last night), and he's getting more whiffs with his Slider (~15.8% in April/May, 24.8% in June). Definitely good signs for the kid. The biggest change is a 22 point jump in swing percentage for his Slider, despite throwing it for a strike just a five points more. That's a huge change as it leads to fewer walks and more chases out of the zone.  That Slider has clearly improved - 88.64 mph yesterday, up from about 85 mph in early May - and it may be time for me to get rid of the PEAS label. Crazy, I know. 

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Deep Sleepers 6/24: Ten Sleeper Hitters To Target In Your Deep Leagues

June 24, 2016 | Deep Sleepers

Have you ever gone dumpster diving?  For newbies at the sport, I recommend a good sturdy diving board, and complete avoidance of belly flops.  These are your bottom of the barrel crew, starting with the least bad and just digging deeper and deeper until you reach a pit of nothingness that leads you to existentially question your existence.  But alas, baseball would be a much more humdrum sport without an undying optimism, and these players offer some sort of glimmer of hope that they can be a diamond in the rough, or, failing that, some sneaky AL or NL-only value.  You may scoff at this list of fantasy refuse and find their odds impossible, but remind yourself this is a sport in which a 43-year-old Bartolo Colon hit a home run, and re-engage.

1. Franklin Gutierrez (Seattle Mariners) - So when you dive deep, one downside is that the players available lack playing time security.  And Mr. Gutierrez  is the man of glass, as although when it comes to playing every day, the spirit is willing, the flesh is spongy and bruised.  But take note:  When it comes to exit velocity on FB/LD, he leads the entire league with 99.4 mph, right above of Khris Davis and Chris Carter.  Impressive!  Reaching last year’s numbers may be optimistic, however, as he’s hitting 13% more groundballs (53.7%) and double the infield fb rate.

Analyzing Every Two-Start Pitcher For Week 13 (6/27 - 7/3)

June 24, 2016 | Two-Start Pitchers

Every Friday I look at every projected two-start pitcher for the week ahead and detail my thoughts about rolling with them on your roster.  There are four tiers: Definitely, Probably, Questionable, Bench.  The first tier features starters that are no doubters for the week ahead followed by a tier of pitchers that look like good plays but may create a hesitation or two. Players inside Questionable Starts are for deeper leagues or have one-of-two outings that should be avoid. Pitchers labeled Bench should be avoided despite their dual week ahead.

Definitely Start

Jake Arrieta (@CIN, @NYM)

Jon Lester (@CIN, @NYM)

Noah Syndergaard (@WSH, CHC)

Corey Kluber (@ATL, @TOR)

Cole Hamels (@NYY, @MIN)

Tanner Roark (NYM, CIN)

Joe Ross (NYM, CIN)

Fernando Rodney's Fastball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Thursday's Games

June 24, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Fernando Rodney's Fastball – Rodney continued his incredible season, lowering his ERA to a miniscule 0.33 mark as he earned the save against the Reds. He struck out a pair, including making Joey Votto look foolish on this comeback inside Fastball.

The Norris Before Us

June 24, 2016 | SP Roundup

I was a fan of Daniel Norris way back in the beginning of April 2015. And when I say fan, I mean I thought he was a decent streamer who could crack into a solid roster spot if his K upside was expressed often enough.  Well, it didn't last year, and today marked Norris' first crack at 2016. He was pretty decent against a strong Mariners team, going 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 Hits, 0 BBs, 5 Ks. Am I still a fan?  Ehhhh slightly. I watched a bit of this outing and he was doing a good job with his heater, though all three runs came off solo shots from mistake heaters. Clearly there is room to improve, though that is expected in his first start back from an extended DL trip. I'm not against 12 teamers chasing Norris if you're in need of SP help, but I'd be shocked if he pulls a Fulmer/Duffy/Paxton/Shoemaker kind of deal. He'll be on The List on Monday, but most likely around the 70s. Just not enough immediate upside with a floor that is lower than you'd like.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

The Hold-Up 6/23: Ranking The Top 60 Relievers For Holds Every Thursday

June 23, 2016 | The Hold Up

It’s Thursday and here at The Pitcher List that means ranking the best setup men in the league. The following rankings are meant to give you some help on how to evaluate relief pitchers that do not finish games for their team. The beauty and craziness of a holds league is that a hold can be just as important as the save, but everyone knows who the closer is. With holds you can find an unowned and solid reliever who can really help your squad win a matchup.

Holds can be difficult to predict, so these rankings focus mostly on the raw potential seen in a relief pitcher to get a hold opportunity along with their ability to not leave you with a blown save or a loss based on what has been happening thus far this year. Some things to always consider are strikeout/groundball/flyball ratios, as you do not want to mess with the BABIP gods if you do not have to, but also your specific team needs based on your league.

Feel free to leave your questions and angry remarks in the comments section below. Let me know if you feel someone should be lower or higher on the list, I’ll be sure to take what you say into consideration. Give me a follow on twitter @Just_In_Relief for all things concerning bullpens and who knows what else fantasy baseball related. Now, let’s see what the rankings look like this week. 

Tier 1

1. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)

2. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)

3. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)

4. Jake Diekman (Texas Rangers)

5. Kelvin Herrera (Kansas City Royals)

6. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)

Josh Osich's Fastball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Wednesday's Games

June 23, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Josh Osich’s Fastball – The Giants bullpen completely shut down the Pirates in a come-from-behind victory Wednesday. Osich pulled his weight, earning three strikeouts in just over an inning of work. This scorching, tailing Fastball got Andrew McCutchen all tangled up as it moved away from any potential contact. (Thanks to Reditors poor_merkleAdumWanrit for the tips!)

Twirling Your Mustache

June 23, 2016 | SP Roundup

I have to hand it to Daniel MengdenHe showed up with the greatest mustache I'll never be able to grow and has given the A's three solid outings, with his most recent being 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 Hits, 1 BBs, 9 Ks against the Brew Crew. Should we expect him to keep it up? Stuff wise I'm on the fence. His Curveball is legit and his favorite pitch to turn to with two-strikes and it's getting results with a 21%+ whiff rate thus far. He can gear up his heater to 94/95 when he needs to, and he's locating it well with some slight cut action to it...but I'm a bit concerned that its steady 91/92 isn't going to be enough as his Slider and Changeup aren't good enough. He's a tantalizing guy - just in fantasy, I swear - but he isn't on the same level as the "sea of upside". I'd rather have Bauer and Reed, though I wouldn't be shocked if Mengden snuck near #60 or so by next week. Might as well chase the upside given the lack of options this season.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Buy & Sell 6/22: Identifying Which Trending Hitters You Want To Own

June 22, 2016 | Buy/Sell

Every Wednesday, Dapinder joins Pitcher List to outline the best position player buys and sells of the week.  He'll outline the hitters to trust in your lineups and who to shop while their price is high. Make sure to stay ahead of the curve and use the market to your advantage.

BUY

Jake Lamb (3B, Arizona Diamondbacks): During the past offseason, Lamb made adjustments to his swing. The results look to be paying off as Lamb is batting .283 with 14 home runs. He’s owned in only 64% of Yahoo leagues and has arguably been a top ten 3B. Lamb’s hard hit percentage ranks 11th among qualified hitters while improving his BB/K ratio. The big caveat with Lamb is that for whatever reason, he is being platooned. Despite that he has kept pace with sluggers like Kyle Seager (their numbers aren’t all that different). Lastly, Lamb is in the top ten in balls hit over 100 mph in the ideal launch angle (10-30 degrees). This makes it likely he can continue to bat above .270 while pulling the ball half the time and challenge for 30 home runs.

Jose Fernandez's Curveball + The Nastiest Pitching GIFs From Tuesday's Games

June 22, 2016 | GIFs of the Night

Every morning we review the nastiest pitches from the previous day's games in glorious HD GIFs. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite pitch and check back this weekend to see if it will be in contention for the GIF of the First Half. Did we miss your favorite pitch? Send us a tweet next time @ThePitcherList and we'll GIF it up + give you a shoutout here in the article.

 

Jose Fernandez’s Curveball – Call it what you want – Slider, Slurve, etc. – but Fernandez’s breaking ball is straight up nasty. Even Erick Aybar had no idea what this Curveball was when it moved in for the kill and crossed the plate. (Thanks to Redditor praeceps93 for the tip!)

Falling Grades

June 22, 2016 | SP Roundup

It was really hard to watch Aaron Nola struggle last night against the Twins where he went 3.0 IP, 7 ER, 7 Hits, 3 BBs, 2 Ks. There are a bunch of fun-but-you-know-it's-not-actually-fun facts about his last three starts: He's raised his ERA 1.46 points to 4.11, he hasn't gotten past the fourth inning, and he's held a 3.00 WHIP. It's been really bad. So what on earth are we supposed to do? Buy low. Yep, buy low. No I'm not being stupidly biased and overlooking the trend at play here. This issue isn't a FIP coming to bite him in the butt, or a loss of velocity, or hidden injury. I watched these outings and I saw how he wasn't hitting the spots that he normally hits. This is the case of a guy even claiming himself that it's a mechanical, and I think you'll see him recover and become the stud we want him to be. It might not happen next time out or even the start after. Luckily for Nola, he gets a ton of weak opponents in the next month, and I think you can get a steal if your Nola owner wants to get out while he can. Go grab that Easy A.

Let’s see what every other SP did yesterday:

Closing Time 6/21: Ranking The Top 45 Closers Every Tuesday

June 21, 2016 | Closing Time

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Closing Time! A weekly check in on everything saves related, Closing Time is where all the closers and speculative options are broken down into tiers based on skill, competition/opportunity/job security, and injury risk. Accompanied by who is most likely to assume the closer role in the event of a change in the hierarchy. It's a mixture of short and long term value with more focus placed on the rest of the season.

Share your questions and critiques in the comments, I’ll be sure to respond. Follow me on twitter @Just_In_Relief for daily notes on bullpen happenings through a fantasy lens. Let’s get to it.

TIER 1

1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers) - Pedro Baez

2. Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals) - Kelvin Herrera or Joakim Soria

3. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles) - Brad Brach

4. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees) - Andrew Miller

5. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox) - Koji Uehara

THE LIST

Rank Change Player
1 Clayton Kershaw
2 Jake Arrieta
3 Noah Syndergaard
4 Madison Bumgarner
5 Jose Fernandez
6 Stephen Strasburg
7 Max Scherzer
8 Chris Sale
9 Jacob DeGrom
10 Johnny Cueto
11 Jon Lester
12 David Price
13 Zack Greinke
14 Aaron Nola
15 Danny Salazar
16 Carlos Carrasco
17 Steven Matz
18 Corey Kluber
19 Matt Harvey
20 Jose Quintana
21 Justin Verlander
22 John Lackey
23 Rich Hill
24 Masahiro Tanaka
25 Jeff Samardzija
26 Cole Hamels
27 Carlos Martinez
28 Steven Wright
29 Yu Darvish
30 Gerrit Cole
31 Kyle Hendricks
32 Drew Pomeranz
33 Matt Shoemaker
34 Michael Fulmer
35 James Paxton
36 Danny Duffy
37 Jameson Taillon
38 Julio Teheran
39 Joe Ross
40 Lance McCullers
41 Chris Tillman
42 Chris Archer
43 Aaron Sanchez
44 Sonny Gray
45 Blake Snell
46 Jake Odorizzi
47 Kevin Gausman
48 Taijuan Walker
49 Tanner Roark
50 Dallas Keuchel
51 Jason Hammel
52 Felix Hernandez
53 Marco Estrada
54 CC Sabathia
55 Drew Smyly
56 Jerad Eickhoff
57 Kenta Maeda
58 Jordan Zimmermann
59 Adam Wainwright
60 Rick Porcello
61 Jon Gray
62 Gio Gonzalez
63 Vincent Velasquez
64 Cody Reed
65 Carlos Rodon
66 Mike Leake
67 Josh Tomlin
68 Marcus Stroman
69 Trevor Bauer
70 Anthony DeSclafani
71 Michael Wacha
72 Julio Urias
73 Jaime Garcia
74 Michael Pineda
75 Nate Karns
76 Doug Fister
77 Eduardo Rodriguez
78 Hisashi Iwakuma
79 J.A. Happ
80 Archie Bradley
81 Nathan Eovaldi
82 Josh Hader
83 Alex Reyes
84 Tyler Glasnow
85 Wei-Yin Chen
86 Ian Kennedy
87 Collin McHugh
88 Bartolo Colon
89 Adam Conley
90 Yordano Ventura
91 Alex Cobb
92 Zack Wheeler
93 Colby Lewis
94 Zach Eflin
95 Jimmy Nelson
96 Scott Kazmir
97 Edinson Volquez
98 Tyson Ross
99 Daniel Mengden
100 Matt Moore