2013 Fantasy Baseball Daily Notes July 26th: Verlander pummeled while Buehrle shines
July 26th Daily Notes: Verlander pummeled and Buehrle shines
*Authors Note, please excuse the brevity of recent Daily Notes articles, I have been suffering from migraine headaches recently* Hopefully this one quenches your thirst for the advanced statistical knowledge you have come to expect from the Fantasy Fix.
Pitching Injuries News and Notes:
It is indeed a very sad day in Major League Baseball, as Atlanta Braves starter Tim Hudson will officially miss the rest of the season with the fractured ankle he suffered in a freak play involving the Mets Eric Young Jr. – who also has a minor injury resulting from that play but more on that later – at first base. The season ending injury may also likely cost Hudson his career. That opinion comes not from a reporting source, but from yours truly, so take that as you will. On a similar note, the Braves are reminded that like the Dodgers (who have had every starting pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw seemingly on the disabled list or banged up for one reason or another) that you can never have too much pitching depth. A week earlier there was a huge conundrum about who would lose their job in the Atlanta rotation with Brandon Beachy coming back. Now Beachy, Kris Medlen, and Alex Wood can all enjoy their time in the rotation safely and securely at least until Maholm is back.
Speaking of Alex Wood, his debut start Thursday against the Mets didn’t go exactly as planned as he was pulled after just 4.1 innings pitched. He yielded eight hits and four earned runs, striking out five and walking two. Wood’s stuff looked sharp until he ran into a bad inning in the third. His deceptive delivery may draw comparisons between him and Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani but on the topic of “pitching arsenal” he’s anything but. While Cingrani relies mostly on the fastball, Wood has three quality pitches throwing all of them well yesterday at times, and at other times not. In shallow leagues Wood is best left for teams in search of a speculative piece to add to their roster. He is not meant for teams who do not have much wiggle room in ERA and WHIP. He won’t be a savior, but he looks better than say, Zach Wheeler.
Pittsburgh Pirates starter A.J. Burnett was excellent against the Washington Nationals, going seven strong innings with just nine hits allowed, and four runs (just one was earned). He struck out five and walked one. Burnett could’ve gone much deeper into this game had the Pirates decided to play defense in the first inning (when they committed three errors). The extra pitches in the inning came off what could’ve been at the tail end of his start. That point is relatively important because Vin Mazzaro fumbled his way to three earned runs allowed in the eight inning, costing Burnett of a win.
Detroit Tigers no-longer-ace Justin Verlander was absolutely throttled by the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. Verlander gave up seven earned runs and 11 hits in just six innings against his division foe. He struck out just four and walked two. Justin Verlander now has gone eight straight starts without eclipsing five strikeouts in a game. I feel sorry for Justin Verlander owners that didn’t catch an article I wrote about Verlander and his “mythical bad luck” You can read it here: http://thefantasyfix.com/2013/06/verlandermythicalbadluck/ But for owners that did read that article and chose to dismiss my conclusion, hopefully you now realize that guys like Verlander aren’t invincible. They eventually break down.
Mat Latos threw 7.2 innings of one run ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. This was Latos’s first start of walking just one batter or fewer since June 13th against the Cubs. This was an important re-establishment of control for Latos in this one, as his overall peripherals are excellent this season. Latos holds the identical 7.5 percent walk rate that he churned out in 2012. In addition, to maintaining his good control, Latos has increased his strikeout rate from 21.6 percent from its 2012 level, to 24.7 percent this season. For Latos, the biggest improvement has been his slider. The strikeout rate on Latos’s slider has risen by a full eight percent since last season.
This year, Latos has a 42.21 percent strikeout rate when an at-bat ends with a slider. Despite this increase in strikeout rate, Latos has seen his batting average against the pitch increase. In 2012 Latos allowed a .170 batting average against the slider with a .228 batting average on balls in play. Just as an example of how absurdly good his slider has been this year, Latos is now allowing a .188 average against the pitch but with a .326 BABIP. The only explanation of that, is that the more he attempts to use it as a strikeout pitch, the more he is liable to hang it, but that’s a stretch. If that turns around Latos’s stats will improve even more as the season continues along.
As Thursday’s Rays @ Red Sox game was rained out, both John Lackey and Jeremy Hellickson will have their starts moved to today. Lackey faces the Orioles and Hellickson faces the Yankees. Both need to be in your starting rotations.
Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks needs to be dropped in all formats except AL-Only, and probably benched in AL-Only until further notice. While Danks’s awful start against the Tigers was Wednesday and not Thursday, the meditation session that ensued was indeed Thursday (yesterday). Danks has been obliterated for five home runs, 11 total earned runs, 18 hits in his last two games. Ironically, Danks has been pitch efficient in each of those starts, going seven innings in each of them. I’m not going to compare him to Brett Talley (@TheRealTAL)’s boyfriend Dillon Gee – mainly because that’s not a curse that I wish to bestow on anyone – but Danks is way too hittable at this point, and his strikeout to walk ratio is nothing but a way to fool us into thinking he’s back. Steer clear.
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie threw six innings of six hit ball against one of his former teams, the Baltimore Orioles. He held the potent Orioles lineup to just one run. He struck out five and walked just one. Guthrie would’ve been stuck in “Three Up” on a lighter news day, but this is probably a better spot for him anyway as his last two starts before this one have been clunkers of epic proportions.
Hitting Injuries News and Notes:
Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter left Thursday’s game with a sore Achilles tendon. According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Hunter expects to play today against the Phillies. This is a situation to monitor for AL-Only owners, as Avisail Garcia and Don Kelly will become valuable additions should this injury linger on for any sort of substantial time frame.
Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez aggravated his sprained middle finger injury in Thursday’s game. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning. We are considering Gonzalez “day-to-day” at the time. Gonzalez has been incredible this season, so if he were to go down that would be a huge loss for fantasy owners.
New York Mets third baseman David Wright stole his 16th base of the season Thursday, off Alex Wood. Wright continues to show that you don’t need blazing speed to be a successful base stealer. Wright took off on a 1-2 count that had flashing neon signs all over it that a breaking/off-speed pitch was coming. Sure enough, Wood threw a changeup at 83 mph that went into the dirt, and Wright swiped the base easily.
Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown and Oakland Athletics catcher John Jaso were both placed on the 7-day disabled list with concussions on Thursday. Brown suffered his injury during a diving catch attempt in a game on Tuesday, while Jaso was concussed on Wednesday when a foul ball hit his mask.
Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig went 2-4 with a run scored on Thursday, and he now has multiple hits in three straight games. This is an important mini hot streak for Puig as he had gone 2-19 in his previous five games.
Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill homered and went 2-4 Thursday. It was an important day for Hill as he had just four hits in 31 at-bats since his last home run on July 10th.
As we eluded to earlier, Mets outfielder/second baseman Eric Young Jr. left Thursday’s game with a right knee strain that he apparently sustained during the freak accident with Tim Hudson that cost the right handed pitcher his season. Young’s injury seems substantially less problematic however, as according to manager Terry Collins, they are hopeful that he’s available on Friday against the Nationals.
Detroit Tigers second baseman Omar Infante went 1-3 in his rehab assignment today at Low-A. According to a Rotowire report, they believe Infante could be back with Detroit as early as today.
Mark Buehrle pitched exceptionally well against the Astros. The veteran soft-tossing lefty threw a complete game shutout while allowing just two hits and striking out nine. Buehrle is certainly still a very iffy spot start, and all his starts should be approached by fantasy owners with some trepidation, but he has earned himself my confidence for his next start in which he faces the Athletics in Oakland.
Juan Nicasio excelled at home in Coors Field against the putrid Marlins. Yes, it was the Marlins, but it was also Coors Field, and Stephen Strasburg was lit up by them just a week ago. The young right-hander has only allowed one run in his past three starts – albeit they have been against the Marlins, Cubs, and Dodgers. Nicasio struck out nine in this one, which is more than his previous three starts combined. He should not be started against Atlanta next time out, but he’s slowing earning my confidence in deeper mixed leagues as a streaming option.
Marlon Byrd went 3-5 on Thursday and now has six multi-hit performances in his past nine games. For absolutely no reason at all, Marlon Byrd is hitting .302 against breaking pitches after hitting .202 against them in 2012 and .193 against them in 2011. Byrd hasn’t changed his strikeout rate against the pitch, but instead has a .483 BABIP against the pitch. It’s safe to say that is going to come down, but why not ride him while he’s hot?
Yovani Gallardo needs to be dropped in shallow 10-team mixed leagues after his recent horrid performance against the Padres. Gallardo was so awful (six earned runs on eight hits in three innings+), I was tempted to include “Your waiver wire” in three-up, referencing Gallardo, but I wanted to cover Marlon Byrd. Gallardo has lost two miles per hour on his fastball since 2011. He is a shell of his former self, and without a changeup, his velocity decline is giving him big problems against lefties. Gallardo yields a 26.5 percent line drive rate against them and only induces an infield fly ball rate of 1.9 percent, an abysmal rate.
Dan Straily was obliterated by the Los Angeles Angels, giving up five earned runs and seven hits in just 4.1 innings. It’s possible that Straily (who had been on a role and had only givien up five earned runs in his past four starts total), fell victim to facing the Angels in back to back starts. The recency and familiarity the Angels likely had with Straily’s delivery and arsenal could have played a significant role in the beatdown. In any case, Straily needs to be sat next time out against the Blue Jays in Oakland.
Francisco Rodriguez: in case it wasn’t obvious enough by his sparkling 1.40 ERA that Rodriguez was going to regress, he promptly ended the prolonged home run drought of Kansas City Royals first baseman Billy Butler. He served up a home run to “Country Breakfast”, Butler’s first since July 9th. Rodriguez didn’t exactly endure him to Orioles faithful, as this was his debut appearance for him. His inclusion in “Three Down” is a reminder that he needs to be released in all formats.
Wily Peralta | MIL | @ COL | 20.9 percent owned: Peralta has allowed just one run in his last 29.1 innings, which amazingly for him has actually been just four starts. If Nate Eovaldi can throw a shutout in Coors, than Peralta’s hot hand can too.
Jose Quintana | CWS | vs. KC | 11.3 percent owned: Quintana wasn’t great last time out against the Braves, as he got a bit lucky. He gave up nine hits and three walks while striking out just four in 5.2 innings. Thankfully for him and his streamers, he only allowed a single earned run. Quintana has been solid though this past month so stream him with confidence.
Corey Kluber | CLE | @ TEX | 16.9 percent owned: Kluber is probably going to be streamed in many leagues tomorrow, but he shouldn’t be, given his day-to-day hip injury. Also, Texas has a formidable lineup. Points leaguers can go ahead though, because he’s likely to get the win if he pitches okay. Martin Perez goes for the Rangers.
Chris Tillman | BAL | vs. BOS | 68.2 percent owned: Boston is a tough team to face for any pitcher, and with Tillman being so inconsistent, and lacking a Top-50 ranking endorsement from me, that means he rides the bench in games like this.
*Note* I said to sit Gallardo yesterday, coming off his excellent start against the Marlins. He gave up six earned runs.