Monday, March 19, 2018

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Jake McCarthy; Blaine Knight

Jake McCarthy, OF, College(Virginia).  B-L, T-L.  6'2", 195 lbs.

2018:  .314/.407/.424, 8 SB, 11 BB, 8 K, 51 AB.
2017:  .338/.425/.506, 11 2B, 7 3B, 5 HR, 27 SB, 26 BB, 35 K, 237 AB.

If the name seems familiar, it is because Jake is the brother of former draft prospect Joe McCarthy.  Joe does not have Jake's power, but is a faster runner and therefore may be drafted higher than the 5'th round which is where Joe went.   .314 is not a great BA for a college hitter, so he needs to turn it up  and get closer to last year's .338.  If he does, I could see him being drafted as a second rounder or even late first round in a relatively thin crop of college hitters.


Blaine Knight, RHP, College(Arkansas).  6'3", 165 lbs.

2018:  3-0, 1.30, 27.2 IP, 5 BB, 25 K.
2017:  8-4, 3.28, 90.2 IP, 20 BB, 96 K.
2016:  2-1, 2.98, 48.1 IP, 14 BB, 46 K.

Knight is a super skinny guy with a FB that sits 90-94 MPH and has touched 97.  He combines that with advanced secondary offerings.  I see him as a second round draft candidate.


DrB's Updated 2018 Draft Board:

1.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
2.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Casey Mize, RHP, College(Auburn)
4.  Shane McClanahan, College(South Florida)
5.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS
6.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
7.  Travis Swaggerty, OF, College(South Alabama)
8.  Logan Gilbert, RHP, College(Stetson).

Mize followed up his no-hitter by striking out 13 against Texas A&M.  McClanahan struck out 16 in a combined no-hitter.  Their rise is the cause of Rocker and Liberatore dropping rather than any disappointment with either of the high schoolers.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/18/2018: Giants 13 Rockies 0

The Giants were hitting on all 8 cylinders and more as the crushed the Rockies mostly "A" team in Talking Stick.  Key Lines:

Austin Jackson CF- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .370.  It's looking more and more like Jackson will start the season manning CF for the Giants.  He's done everything you want from a CF/Leadoff man.

Gorkys Hernandez PR/CF- 2 for 2.  BA= .278.  Gorkys has been coming on.  It's probably down to him or Jarrett Parker for the 5'th OF spot.  I feel like Gorkys is winning that battle.

Hunter Pence LF- 1 for 3, HR(2), BB. BA= .294.  Pence seems like he is ready to start the season like most of the rest of the team. Whew!  Hope they aren't peaking too soon!

Andrew McCutchen RF- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .345.  Reported exit velocity on the double, which banged off the batter's eye in dead CF was 103 MPH.

Evan Longoria 3B- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .346.  Longoria has had a solid spring and looks ready to start the season.

Nick Hundley C- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(3), BB. BA= .400.  Has Hundley become some sort of beast at the plate or what?  Not sure how you get him more AB's but he deserves them.

Brandon Crawford SS- 2 for 4.  BA= .297.  The Giants brought Crawford along slowly so as not to wear him out before the season starts.  He seems to be rounding into form on schedule.

Pablo Sandoval 1B- 2 for 2, HR(2), 2 BB.  BA= .306.  Speaking of finding more AB's...OK, nothing against Evan Longoria and I completely understand why the Giants felt like they could not count on Pabs to be the starting 3B, but....dang!  Maybe they didn't need to go out and trade for Longoria?  Pabs looks like he is literally in the best shape of his life and it's showing on the field.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 1 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .200.  Bummy has a date with Clayton Kershaw in less than 2 weeks.  He definitely used this game to get tuned up for that matchup!

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 7/2.  ERA= 2.84.  Like I said, Bumgarner and Kershaw are on a collision course and Bummy looks like he's going to be ready.

Josh Osich LHP- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  According to Pavs, the key to Osich's spring success is ditching the curveball.  He's throwing 4 seamers up in the zone, 2-seamers down in the zone, Cutters for glove-side movement and changeups to keep hitters off balance.  Along with some other mechanical adjustments, he's dominating hitters again.

Derek Law RHP- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 6.43.  At this point, I have a hard time seeing Law make the Opening Day Roster, but this was a nice more-than-one-inning appearance.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Mike Clevenger SP, Indians- 4.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 4.73.  Clevenger's ERA doesn't always match his peripherals, but he makes a nice later round draftee.

Jorge Soler OF, Royals- 3 for 3, 2B, HR(6), BB.  BA= .271.  Soler has been coming on over the past week.  Look at those dingers!  He's always had the tremendous ceiling.  Is this the year he finally reaches it?

Tyler Chatwood SP, Cubs- 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.81.  A bit of a stumble but I'm still high on Chatwood.

Chase Anderson SP, Brewers- 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.74.  Another guy whose ERA doesn't always match his peripherals.  See Mike Clevenger above.

Nick Tropeano SP, Angels- 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 3.12.  Not sure I trust him yet.  I'd rank him as a follow at this point.

Martin Perez SP, Rangers- 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.80.  This line my bump Bartolo Colon out of the Rangers starting rotation.

Scott Schebler OF, Reds- 1 for 2, HR(3), BB.  BA= .515.  Schebler hit 30 dingers last year and is having a ridiculous spring.

Ketel Marte SS, D'Backs- 2 for 3.  BA= .414.  Sleeper alert!

Amir Garrett SP, Reds- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.   ERA= 1.38.  I picked up Garrett last year.  He was good for like 2 games then was terrible.  I'll probably have him on my follow list to start the season.

Zach Godley SP, D'Backs- 4.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.70.  Still a safe mid-round draftee.

JA Happ SP, Blue Jays- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA- 3.78.  Happ is statistically very similar to Zach Davies of the Brewers.  He's run off 3 consecutive sub-4.00 ERA's.

Starling Marte OF, Pirates- 2 for 3.  BA= .424.  Marte and Polanco once made Cutch seem expendable.  If they can both bounce back, the Pirates might be OK....except for the pitching.

Jose Martinez 1B, Cardinals- 2 for 3, 2B, HR(3).  BA= .293.  Is Martinez forcing the Cardinals to find a place for him to play?  Matt Carpenter played 3B and 2B in this game.

Byron Buxton OF, Twins- 2 for 3, SB(5).  BA= .265.  Buxton is a potential 50 SB guy.  It's just that he's being drafted more for his ceiling than what you are likely to get right now.

Didi Gregorius SS, Yankees- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .263.  In Didi I trust.

Carlos Gomez OF, Rays- 2 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .304.  Does Gomez have anything left in the tank?  He's not going to be a 30/30 guy anymore, but maybe 30/15?

Ronald Acuna OF, Braves- 3 for 5.  BA= .432.  Acuna will start the season in AAA.  Draft him anyway.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/17/2018: Reds 5 Giants 4; A's 8 Giants 3

The Giants could not overcome a 4-run 4'th inning by the Reds in Scottsdale.  Key Lines:

Austin Jackson CF- 2 for 4.  BA= .360.  The tea leaves and the BA are saying Jackson is the starting CF.

Buster Posey C- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .467.  It would be nice to get a few more dingers out of Buster this year.

Austin Slater DH- 2 for 4, HR(2).  A= .250.  Slater will almost certainly start the season in Sacramento.

Kelby Tomlinson 2B- 2 for 3.  BA= .294.  Kelby is coming on strong after a rough start to the preseason.  d'Arnaud and Rutledge have had strong springs, but the reserve MI role should be Kelby's to lose and he has done nothing to warrant losing it.

Gorkys Hernandez LF- 2 for 2, 2 2B.  BA= .235.  It may come down to Gorkys vs Jarrett Parker for the 5'th OF roster spot.

Chris Stratton RHP- 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.86.  Stratton pitched 4 dominant innings before running into trouble when he tried to stretch it out into a 5'th inning.  He left the game with 1 out, runners on first and second and 2 runs in.   Jose Valdez allowed the 2 inherited runners to score.  1.  Hopefully Stratton his conditioned to not not tire in the 5'th by the time the regular season starts.  2.  Hopefully the relief work will be better quality in the regular season.

Andrew Suarez LHP- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 7.62.  Will this be Suarez' last spring appearance in major league camp?  If so, he's leaving with a good impression.


Ty Blach pitched in some bad luck in a loss to the A's.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 0 for 1, 2 BB, SF.  BA= .382.  Belt can help a lineup when he does not get a hit.  Here he scores a run and drives one in with the SF.

Hunter Pence LF- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .290.  Pence is right back where you would expect him to be after a rough start to the spring.

Steven Duggar CF- 1 for 4.  BA= .270.  The tea leaves are saying Duggar starts the season in Sacramento.

Ty Blach LHP- 5 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 8/1.  ERA= 3.63.  The peripheral numbers suggest Blach was unlucky beyond the error by Crawford to open the game.

Julian Fernandez RHP- 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 18.56.  The numbers game is daunting, but the Giants need to find a way to keep Fernandez in the organization.

Sam Dyson RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 11.12.  Very encouraging appearance by Dyson who was electric.

Tyler Beede RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 10.80.  Was this Beede's last spring appearance in major league camp?  His stuff looked better today than in his last start.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Addison Russell SS, Cubs- 3 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .363.  I thought Russell would break out last year.  He killed my fantasy team.  I remember several years ago, Robinson Cano killed me after I drafted him in the second round.  He broke out the next year when I didn't want to have anything to do with him.

Jose Quintana SP, Cubs- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 1.93.  Cubs starting pitching looks terrific.  The bullpen not so much.

Marco Gonzalez SP, Mariners- 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.10.  Breakout season for the Pride of Gonzaga?

Yusmeiro Petit RP, A's- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.13.  Petit seems ready to be a fantasy stud again out of a long relief role.  A's might want to think about making him a SP.

Zach Davies SP, Brewers- 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 4/1.  ERA= 4.26.  I've had Davies on my fantasy team for the past 3 seasons.  He just keeps grinding out sub-4.00 ERA's in a very tough environment for pitchers.  Last year he put up 17 W's and 15 QS.

Trevor Bauer SP, Indians- 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K's. ERA= 5.40.  Is this the year Bauer puts it all together?

Luke Weaver SP, Cardinals- 4.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 0.68.  Breakout alert!

Sean Newcomb SP, Braves- 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.35.  Another breakout alert.

Charlie Morton SP, Astros- 4.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 0.93.  Morton should be a solid late-mid round target.

Delino DeShields OF, Rangers- 1 for 3, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .349.  If you are thinking about drafting Billy Hamilton, target Delino DeShields instead.

Jakob Junis SP, Royals- 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.80.  Sleeper alert.  Nice late-round target.

Jharel Cotton SP, A's- will undergo TJ surgery.  Not a big surprise there.  Something wasn't right clear back to last season.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Choosing Keepers

My fantasy baseball league is adding a Keeper wrinkle this year.  We have to keep 2 pitchers and 2 hitters from last year's final roster, and we have to designate one of the Keepers as a "Franchise Player" who we have to keep for 3 years.  We cannot trade or drop our Franchise Player.  So, I have my 4 Keeper set:  Nolan Arenado, Bryce Harper, Madison Bumgarner and Wade Davis.

My question is, who should I designate as my Franchise Player?  Arenado or Harper?  I would like your opinion with your reasoning.


Around the League:

Ozzie Albies 2B, Braves- 2 for 3, 2 HR(2).  BA= .318.  Albies is the darling of the Breakout predictors.

Gregory Polanco OF, Pirates- 2 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .379.  Polanco battled injuries last year but should bounceback if he stays healthy.

Josh Bell 1B, Pirates- 1 for 3, HR(2), BB.  BA= .250.  Bell broke out last year, but I think there is still room for growth.

Jameson Taillon SP, Pirates- 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.79.  Hopefully Taillon is fully healthy and can reach his high ceiling.

Michael Wacha SP, Cardinals-  6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.20.

Jeimer Candelario 3B, Tigers- 1 for 3, HR(2), BB.  BA= .265.  Breakout candidate.

Nick Castellanos OF, Tigers- 1 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .278.  The 5 HR is catching my eye.  Is Castellanos breakout season still in the future?

JP Crawford SS, Phillies- 3 for 5, HR(1).  BA= .303.  The big question is whether Crawford will hit.  The rest of the package is elite.

Miles Mikolas SP, Cardinals- 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 6.59.  Got knocked around early in the spring but seems to be settling in now.

Jaime Garcia SP, Blue Jays- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.00.  Has battled injuries for several years.  Can he stay healthy for a season?

Jake deGrom SP, Mets- 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.35.  Elite SP.

Andrew Cashner SP, Orioles- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.01.  Cashner was surprisingly good last year with the Rangers.  Not a lot of K's, but solid in W's, ERA and WHIP.

Shohei Ohtani SP, Angels- 1.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  Great tools but has a lot to learn.  Don't expect much from him in 2018.

Chad Green RP, Yankees- 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.25.  Multi-inning reliever who has fantasy value.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/15/2018: Padres 9 Giants 7

The Giants put together a nice hitting show, but it was not enough to overcome some rough pitching.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence LF- 3 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .250.  Pence seems to be getting into one of his grooves.  Talk of a DFA has faded away.

Andrew McCutchen RF- 2 for 4, SB(1).  BA= .318.  Cutch is having a solid sustainable spring.

Brandon Belt 1B- 2 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .394.  Belt won't hit .394, but it's great to see him having a great spring.

Brandon Crawford SS- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .267.  Arizona R&R is over.  Time to get ready for the season.  Expecting big things from Crawford this year.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 3.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 10.64.  Not worried about Shark, at least more than I ever am, which is quite a bit.  He'll have his mix of good games and terrible ones and likely end up with about 20 QS's.

Tony Watson LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 6.23.  Watson had a rough first half last season.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  If I had to pick 1 Giants pitcher to close out a game that counts tomorrow, I think I would pick Cory Gearrin.  That's how bad it's gotten.

Roberto Gomez RHP- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.68.  Gomez has had some good outings after a rough early spring.  He has no chance to make the Opening Day roster, but is putting himself in line for call up later in the season.


Fantasy Focus: Around the League

Lucas Giolito SP, White Sox- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 4 K's. ERA= 3.18.  Breakout candidate.

Kevin Gausman SP, Orioles- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 6/2.  ERA= 4.82.  I've predicted so many breakouts for Gausman and gotten burned.  I think I'll stay away, which means this might be his year.

Jack Flaherty SP, Cardinals- 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K's, GO/AO= 5/1.  ERA= 4.85.  Big time upside.  Still inconsistent.

Jonathan Schoop 2B, Orioles- 2 for 2, HR(5).  BA= .441.  Schoop already broke out, but may have more in the tank.

Mike Foltynewicz SP, Brave- 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5K's.  ERA= 0.00.  See Kevin Gausman above.

Dallas Keuchal SP, Astros-  5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.74.  Keuchal getting his work in.

Kyle Gibson SP, Twins- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 1.80.  Gibson is another inconsistent, frustrating pitcher.

David Price SP, Red Sox- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's. ERA= 0.00.  Big question is if Price is fully healthy?

Matt Harvey SP, Mets- 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 5.52.  The 8 K's suggest Harvey is poised for a comeback.

Kyle Hendricks SP, Cubs- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.00.  Is Hendricks best season still to come?

Scott Schebler OF, Reds- 2 for 3, 2 2B.  BA= .500.  Schebler hit 30 HR's last year.  There may be more in the tank.

Tyler Mahle SP, Reds- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 2.45.  Mahle is a back-end of the draft kind of guy.  More of a streamer candidate.

Rich Hill SP, Dodgers- 0.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 8.59.  Hill has always run hot and cold and health is always an issue with him.

Delino DeShields OF, Rangers- 1 for 3, BB, SB(4).  BA= .351.  DeShields projects to 40-50 SB's and will give you better all around numbers than Billy Hamilton.

David Dahl OF, Rockies- 1 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .200.  Rockies stirred up their OF picture by re-signing CarGo.  Dahl could start the season in AAA.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/14/2018: Mariners 6 Giants 5

While Johnny Cueto and Mark Melancon were off pitching in a minor league game, Derek Holland got the start in the MLB game.  Key Lines:

Evan Longoria 3B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .296.  If Longoria plays like this in the regular season, the Giants are gonna be least until the 9'th inning.

Buster Posey DH- 2 for 3.  BA= .500.  Buster being Buster.  Hope his ankle is feeling better.

Josh Rutledge 2B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .409.  Rutledge has definitely done everything possible to make the team.  Does d'Arnaud and Kelby's ability to play SS give them a leg up on him?

Derek Holland LHP- 3.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 3.27.  I would say Holland is almost a lock to be the Giants long man out of the bullpen.

Derek Law RHP- 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 8.44.  I know a lot of fans expect Law to make the Opening Day Roster, but why?

Josh Osich LHP- 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Has Osich finally found the key to success at the MLB level?  The multiple innings are particularly impressive.

Sam Dyson RHP- 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 13.50.  Hmm, Hmm, Hmm!  I don't know if I quite buy that Dyson is just working on things.  Those horrendous Blown Saves at the end of last year are still pretty fresh in my mind.


A very sad end to the Gustavo Cabrera story.  He announced his retirement from baseball today.  When I think of what that kid could have been, I get a sick feeling.  Gave it his best, but the hand just never completely came around.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Ketel Marte SS, D'Backs- 2 for 3.  BA= .435.  The Humidor could be a problem, but Marte is someone to at least follow and possibly draft in deeper leagues.

Scott Schebler OF, Reds- 1 for 2, HR(2).  BA= .480.  Did you know that Scott Schebler hit 30 HR's last year?

Zack Grienke SP,  D'Backs- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.38.  This may not be as bad as it looks.  Grienke came out after 1 inning after tweaking his groin.  It was termed "precautionary" and no MRI is planned.  He reportedly hit 92 MPH after struggling to get above 90 in his first few starts.

Jhoulys Chacin SP, Brewers- 4.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.87.  Chacin should be a nice late round option in your fantasy draft, although he is moving from a pitcher-friendly park to a hitter friendly one in Milwaukee.

Ryan Braun 1B- 2 for 2, 2 HR(2).  BA= .400.  Braun seems to be getting more comfortable at 1B which is good news for Domingo Santana lovers.  Braun is still a potent offensive force as long as he can stay healthy.

Travis Shaw 3B- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .286.  Shaw's breakout was last year, so you won't sneak up on anyone this year, but he's a second tier draft guy who could give you top tier production.

Yonny Chirinos SP, Rays- 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.06.  Sleeper Alert!  Brent Honeywell's injury and some trades seem to have opened the door for Chirinos who put up this line in AAA last year:  12-5, 2.74, 141 IP, 22 BB, 120 K, GO/AO= 1.44.

Adam Wainwright SP, Cardinals- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.84.  Waino has had a rough couple of seasons.  Could he be a bounceback candidate?

Julio Tehran SP, Braves- 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.24.  Solid SP option.

Jonathan Schoop 2B, Orioles- 2 for 3, HR(4).  BA= .406.  Schoop is already a reliable power option at 2B and seems to be still improving.

Dan Straily SP, Marlins- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.20.  Strailly will have more value in QS leagues than ones that still use W's.  He'll pick up more W's if he is traded to a contender midseason which is very likely.

Steven Matz SP, Mets- 4.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 10.80.  The most important thing for Matz is he seems to be healthy.  More of a follow guy than a draft target right now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/13/2018: Cubs 2 Giants 1

Tyler Chatwood was just as tough on the Giants in this spring training game as he is in the regular season as the Cubbies shut down the Giants.  Key lines:

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.15.  Bummy allowed solo dingers to Ian Happ and Addison Russell.  The Giants didn't answer until the top of the 9'th inning and it was too little too late.

Julian Fernandez RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 27.00.  Fernandez kept his hopes for a roster spot alive with a shutdown inning.  Fernandez is a longterm asset the Giants should try to hang onto.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Gearrin's spot in the bullpen is not much in doubt.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Tyler Chatwood RHP, Cubs- 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 0.98.  Chatwood usually shuts down the Giants but he did more than that here with the 9 K's in 5 IP.  I am targeting him big time in my upcoming fantasy draft.

Addison Russell SS, Cubs- 2 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .364.  Russell killed my fantasy team last year, but he could break out if his physical and personal issues are resolved.

Lance Lynn RHP, Twins- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Lynn makes his first official spring appearance a success.

Didi Gregorius SS, Yankees- 1 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .286.  Gregorius helped my fantasy team after I finally dumped Russell.  He is having a fine spring too.  He's still my draft target at SS.

Jordan Zimmermann RHP- Tigers- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.15.  Zimm has had a rough time since signing a big FA deal with the Tigers.  I wouldn't jump on his bandwagon based on this one spring start, but he's worth following.

Teoscar Hernandez OF, Blue Jays- 2 for 2, HR(3), SB(2).  BA= .547.  Major breakout candidate, if the Blue Jays have the sense to start him in RF over Randall Grichuk.

Freddie Freeman 1B, Braves- 3 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .321. Position alert!  Freeman also has 3B eligibility in Yahoo formats.  BTW, Anthony Rizzo has 2B eligibility.

Francis Martes RHP, Astros- 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 1.93.  High ceiling prospect.   He will likely start the season as another multi-inning reliever for the 'Stros.  That has fantasy value.

Yusmeiro Petit RHP, A's- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.35.  Petit was a fantasy stud last year in a long relief role with the Angels.  He has been lights out this spring.

Rob Whalen RHP, Mariners- 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 1.38.  Whalen had a rough season last year in both AAA and a short MLB stint.  Prior to that, he was a promising prospect.  He is not currently listed on the Mariners depth chart.  Deep Sleeper alert.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/12/2018: Giants 6 A's 5

Two young Giants, Chris Stratton and Steven Duggar, left a big, good, impression as the Giants edged out the A's.  Key Lines:

Joe Panic 2B- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .348.  Feels like Average Joe is doing this while sitting in the rocking chair right now:  Get up, go to the park, get 1 or 2 hits and a walk, go home.

Nick Hundley C- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .444.  What a major luxury to have Hundley as the backup catcher!

Jarrett Parker DH- 1 for 3, 2B, BB. BA= .242.  OF competition is fierce.  Parker is not giving up without a fight.  He has the option numbers on his side.

Steven Duggar CF- 1 for 2, HR(4), Sac.  BA= .300.  Speaking of not giving up without a fight....another statement game by Duggar! The dinger came off a lefty reliever.  Giants beats sound like he's ticketed to Sacramento, at least to start the season, but he's definitely making his case to be the starting CF on Opening Day.

Chris Stratton RHP- 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.25.  The Giants placed a lot of faith in Stratton this offseason and concentrated on shoring up several positions.  So far, Stratton is making that strategy look good.  Looks like he has a pretty firm grip on #4 starter.

Sam Dyson RHP- 0.2 IP,  4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 12.27.  Ooof!  I wish I have more confidence in the Giants Closer situation.  Melancon seems like he's about 1 pitch away from the DL and Dyson finished last season with 2 disaster Blown Saves.  Now this.


The Giants cut 13 players leaving 47 still in. camp:

Optioned:  Tyler Herb, Pierce Johnson, Chase Johnson, Reyes Maronta, DJ Snelton, Steven Okert, Aramis Garcia, Miguel Gomez

Reassigned:  Alen Hanson, Tyler Cyr, Jose Flores, Dereck Rodriguez, Madison Younginer.

The biggest surprise is probably Okert, with Josh Osich apparently sticking around for a longer look.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Jharel Cotton RHP, A's- 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.75.

Franklin Barreto 2B, A's- 1 for 2, HR(3).  BA= .300.  Barreto seems ready to be a star.  He needs a place to play.  Will that be 2B?

Dylan Cease RHP, White Sox- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Not sure if he has a chance to start the season in the ChiSox rotation but he must be getting close.  Former highly ranked draft prospect.

Sharlon Schoop 2B, Orioles- 2 for 3, HR(3), BB.  BA= .379.   Schoop has become a reliable power option at 2B.

Dylan Bundy RHP, Orioles- 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 10.61.  Bundy needs to find consistency.

Jakob Junis RHP, Royals- 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K.  ERA= 1.50.  Did you know Junis went 9-3, 4.30, 98.1 IP, 25 BB, 80 K's, 1.28 WHIP last year?  I know I didn't!  Sleeper alert!

Trevor Bauer RHP, Indians- 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 6.75.  Bauer was inconsistent last year but had a K/9 greater than 9.

Jake Eflin RHP, Phillies- 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 2.89.

Sean Newcomb LHP, Braves- 4.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.53.  Breakout alert!

Delino Deshields Jr CF, Rangers- 2 for 4, 2B, 2 SB(3).  BA= .387.  DeShields line last year was .269/.347/.367, 6 HR, 29 SB in 420 PA.  Rangers say he's going to be the full-time starting CF in 2018.  Rangers manager says he's going to steal 50 bases.  If you just project last year's numbers to 630 PA he has 45, so 50 is easily reachable.  If you are thinking of drafting Billy Hamilton for his SB's, DeShields projects to almost as many with much better surrounding numbers.  I mean, you can't steal 1B and DeShields gets on base!  Breakout Alert!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Hot Stove Update: Jake Arrieta Signs With the Phillies

Jake Arrieta finally found a home, signing with the Phillies for 3 years/$75 M.  This is $25 M and 1 year less than MLBTR's prediction way back when the Hot Stove first fired up and WAY less than his original asking price of $200 M.  The deal breaks down to a front-loaded contract of $30 M in 2018, $25 M in 2019 and $20 M in 2020.  He has an opt out after 2 years, but the Phillies also have an option to void the opt out and extend the contract for another year with base pay of $20 M for each of the last 2 seasons with incentives to $30 M each of those seasons.  So, the maximum payout from the deal could go as high as $105 M over 4 years which is right where MLBTR had him pegged, but a lot has to happen to get to there.

This has to be a disappointment for Arrieta, who as recently as 2 years ago was among the best 2 or 3 pitchers in baseball.  Last season was not nearly as good with an ERA of 3.53, and some analysts think they see the beginnings of or the downhill phase of his career.  The higher ERA came with a higher BABIP and HR/FB, so it's possible that it was all due to bad luck, but according to Fangraphs, if you dig deeper into the granular data, there were definite problems with his slider, which had been his wipeout pitch.

It's a bit of a head scratcher why a rebuilding team like the Phillies would put out a contract like this that will likely expire before they reach their window of contention.  On the other hand, if Arrieta can pitch even as good as he did last year, he could propel them into playoff contention ahead of schedule.  It's a lot of money with a significant risk for that chance, though.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/11/2018: Giants 5 Padres 4

Hunter Pence highlighted a 5-run rally in the first inning with a grand slam HR and the Giants hung on for a 1-run win.  Key Lines:

Austin Jackson CF- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .400.  Jackson is having a fine spring at the plate.  Starting to make a believer out of of me even though spring stats mean close to nothing.

Hunter Pence DH- 1 for 2, HR(1), BB.  BA= .143.  The dinger was a first pitch grand slam HR in the first inning.  And Hunter Pence sez "STFU, haters!"

Ty Blach LHP- 4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K, ERA= 2.92.  Blach wasn't as sharp as in his previous starts. You could tell because even the outs were fly balls or lineouts.

DJ Snelton LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.69.  Snelton is leaving an impression for later if the Giants need to call up a lefty reliever.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 2/0.  ERA= 4.50.  Per Pavs, Melancon's stuff looked more crisp today than his first appearance.

Pierce Johnson RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Another guy who is leaving his calling card for down the road.

Tyler Herb RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.40.  Nice 2 innings of work for Herb, who should get the promo to Sacramento after pitching AA last year.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Bartolo Colon SP, Rangers- 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.04.  Looks like Colon is going to do his thing for at least another year.  He has value in Wins and WHIP.

JC Ramirez, SP, Angels- 4.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.72.  Ramirez has been very good when healthy.

Justin Upton, OF, Angels- 1 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .333.  Upton may be poised for his career year.

Matt Olson, 1B, A's- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .310.  Olson had a breakout in the second half last year.  From his spring so far, he may be able to keep it up for a full season.

Luke Weaver, SP, Cardinals- 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's. ERA= 1.00.  Breakout candidate.

Didi Gregorius, SS, Yankees- 1 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .280.  Gregorius is my late round target at SS.

Francisco Liriano, SP, Tigers- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA- 0.00.  Liriano is a lock for the Tigers decimated rotation.  He's had his ups and downs, but can be terrific when he gets on a roll.

Jose Pirela, 2B, Padres- 2 for 3, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .481.  Padres are obviously trying to expand Pirela's defensive repertoire to get his bat into the lineup more.  Deep sleeper, but needs a position.

Andrew Cashner, SP, Orioles- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 6/2.  ERA= 0.00.  Cashner's first appearance of the spring.  He's kind of like Bartolo Colon only younger.  Had a 3.40 ERA in 166 IP for the Rangers last year, but had a poor K/BB.

Chris Iannetta, C, Rockies- 1 for 2, HR(3), BB.  BA= .308.  Iannetta has appeared to be on the verge of breakouts in the past and disappointed, but I love his upside moving to Coors Field.

Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers- 2 for 2.  BA= .409.   If he can throw at all, it seems like a matter of a short time before Hiura is the starting 2B for the BrewCrew.  He should be an instant asset in BA.

Carlos Carrasco, SP, Indians- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.00. Carrasco is an ace level pitcher now.

Wade Miley, SP, Brewers- 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.38.  Miley has disappointed for several years.  Is he pulling it back together?

Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox- 2 for 2, 3B, HR(2) BB.  BA= .750.  Jimenez missed the early part of spring training with an injury, but is back with a vengeance.  If you have a place to stash him, by all means try to draft him.  Just a monster bat.

Reynaldo Lopez, SP, White Sox- 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.96. Breakout candidate.

Brandon Finnegan, SP, Reds- left his start in the first inning with forearm pain.

Robinson Cano, 2B, Mariners- left the game in the first inning with a lame hammy.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/10/2018: Giants 11 Angels 7; Giants 9 Angels 8

Giants hitters overcame disappointing performances by their top 2 pitching prospects to sweep a split-squad doubleheader.


Brandon Belt, Jarrett Parker and Nick Hundley all went deep to overcome 5 runs allowed by SP Andrew Suarez in an 11-7 spring training win in Scottsdale.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 3, BB, SB(1).  BA= .333.  SB's are probably the least important skill for a leadoff hitter.  Panik is almost perfect for the role in every other respect and he even stole a base in this one.

Brandon Belt 1B- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .440.  Belt's dinger on Friday was an Arizona HR.  This one was crushed and a HR in any ballpark.  Great spring so far for The Belter.

Nick Hundley C- 3 for 4, 2 2B, HR(2).  BA= .467.  The Giants need a great backup catcher as Buster Posey's playing time at the position starts to wind down.  Hundley was a rare bright spot last year and he's having a stupendous spring.

Jarrett Parker RF- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .233.  Parker is not giving up his roster spot without a fight.  personally, I would rather have Parker coming off he bench with Williamson starting everyday in Sacramento as I think Williamson has more longterm power potential.  It may be all moot if Duggar wins the CF job with Austin Jackson and Gregor Blanco serving as the 4'th and 5'th OF's.

Steven Duggar CF- 1 for 2, Assist(3B).  BA= .286.  Duggar broke his 0'fer with a single and added to his defensive rep with an assist at 3B.

Andrew Suarez LHP- 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 9.00.  Suarez shows pretty convincingly he needs to go to Sacramento for some more salt.

Julian Fernandez RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 38.57.  Disappointing follow up to his impressive inning in his previous appearance.


Tyler Beede ran into a BABIP buzzsaw but Mac Williamson had a big day to help the Giants road squad outscore the Angels 9-8 in Tempe.  Key Lines:

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 2 for 3, BB, 2 SB(2).  BA= .292.  The reserve middle IF role should be Kelby's to lose.  He's not losing it so far.

Kyle Jensen 1B- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .389.  Jenson's sensational spring continues.  Unfortunately, there is a roster numbers crunch and they don't work in his favor.

Pablo Sandoval 3B- 1 for 3, SF.  BA= .348.  Pablo Sandoval is one big reason why Kyle Jensen won't end up on the Opening Day roster.

Mac Williamson DH- 3 for 4, 3B, HR(4).  BA= .424.  Huge game for Mac. The dinger reportedly cleared the batter's eye wall in CF.  Mac is definitely getting the ball in the air more this spring where the triple digit exit velocity can create more dingers.  See discussion for Jarrett Parker above for roster analysis.  Only realistic path to an Opening Day roster spot is probably an injury to either Pence or Cutch in which case Mac should be the starting replacement.

Josh Rutledge 2B- 3 for 3, 2B.  BA= .402.  Rutledge is having a terrific spring.  There is probably room for just 2 Inf reserves, and Kelby and Pabs are ahead of him on the depth chart.

Tyler Beede RHP- 2.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 12.27.  Beede looked good through the first out of the 3'rd inning, then gave up 7 consecutive singles.  It was definitely a bad BABIPing, but he had given up a couple of loud outs in the second inning and lack of a strikeout pitch hurt him badly.  Mike Trout's 2 hits might have jammed lesser batters, but he was able to pull his arms in and get enough barrel to hit line drives to the OF.  Beede needs to go to Sacramento and work on a put away pitch.

Steven Okert LHP- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K. ERA- 1.92.  Okert allowed one of Beede's runners to score, but then got out of the 3'rd inning.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  The O'Boys are probably both headed to Sacramento and will likely ride the Sacramento-SF shuttle all summer.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Rich Hill, SP, Dodgers- 4 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.29.

Devin Mesoraco, C, Reds- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .300.  Deep sleeper alert.  After several lost seasons to injury, Mesoraco seems to be healthy again.

Sal Romano, SP, Reds- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.00.  Another deep sleeper.  Romano pitched well for the Reds last year and has 15 K's in 12 IP, so far this spring.  I had never heard of him before looking up today's boxscores.  Impressive size at 6'5", 270 lbs.

Mike Minor, SP/RP, Rangers- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.84.  Another sleeper.  Minor is a former first round draft pick who excelled as a multi-inning reliever last year.  The Rangers signed him with the idea of making him a SP again.

Brent Suter, SP,  Brewers- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Another sleeper and another guy I had never heard of before.  Suter had a 3.42 ERA in 81.2 IP last year.

Lucas Giolito, SP, White Sox- 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 3.00.  Post-hype sleeper.  Did you know that Giolito had a 2.38 ERA in 45.1 IP, for the ChiSox last year?

Kyle Hendricks, SP, Cubs- 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.00.

Dallas Keuchal, SP, Astros- 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.38.

Nate Eovaldi, SP, Rays- 3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.42.

Vince Velasquez, SP, Phillies- 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.52.

Andrew Heaney, SP, Angels- 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.59.  Heaney looked sharp agains the Giants spring travel squad.

Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Braves- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Folty struggled last year, but still has the raw talent to be a frontline pitcher.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/9/2018: Giants 10 Mariners 7

Not much pitching in this game as the Giants rallied late repeatedly to pull out the high-scoring win.  Key Lines:

Josh Rutledge 3B- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .286.  Rutledge is having a good spring, but I don't think he is much of a SS so short of an injury to Pablo Sandoval, I would say he does not have much of a chance to make the Opening Day roster.

Hunter Pence LF- 0 for 3, 2 K's.  BA= .067.  OK, time to talk about Hunter Pence.  He's always been streaky.  If he is healthy, this is likely just one of those small sample cold streaks.  I'd almost rather have it now than be red hot all spring and go cold on April 1.  On the other hand, if he is physically broken beyond repair, this may be the beginning of his swan song and close to a full season on the DL.

Chris Shaw LF- 1 for 1, HR(2), BB.  BA= .348.  Shaw is making the case that his bat is for real.  He'll likely go to Sacramento and get ready for a call up if Hunter Pence proves to be done.

Buster Posey C- 3 for 3, 2 2B.   BA= .800.  Buster had not played since 2/25 because his ankle is barking.  He did this out of bed.

Mac Williamson PR/RF- 1 for 2, SB(2).  BA= .379.  I'm going to say Cutch is terrific in RF all season.  Could the Giants field a corner OF tandem of Chris Shaw in LF and Mac in RF in 2019?

Brandon Belt 1B- 1 for 2, HR(1), BB.  BA= .429.  The dinger was barely over the fence in R-CF.  Probably a can of corn in AT&T Park.  Other than that, Belt is having a fine spring and most importantly seems to be completely over the concussion.

Pablo Sandoval 3B- 3 for 3.  BA= .333.  Barring injury, Sandoval will be the reserve corner IF.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 9.82.  Spring training ballparks are less than ideal for Shark's style of pitching, but is there a more frustrating pitcher in baseball?  I mean, you'd think at some point he'd figure out how to not give up so darn many dingers.  Fangraphs tried to make a case that he could easily correct this problem and failed miserably.  Of the 10 dingers they showed videos of, most were either off "good" pitches, which by definition you can't do anything about, or off "mistake" pitches, the kind he's been making for his entire career.  Expect more dingers.

DJ Snelton LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 2/0.  ERA= 2.08.  After some bad luck in his early appearances, Snelton seems to have settled down.  Another LHP option down the road.


Giants play a split squad DH today, both games against the Angels.  Tyler Beede and Andrew Suarez are the SP's. Is this the day we get a peek at Heliot Ramos?


Fantasy Focus: Around the league.

Miles Mikolas, RHP, Cardinals- 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 5/0.  ERA= 10.38.  This is more like what Cardinals fans and fantasy baseball owners had in mind for Mikolas.

Justin Verlander, RHP, Astros- 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 0.90.  Verlander is officially back to ace status.  I think this is the longest start of the spring for all of MLB.

David Dahl, OF, Rockies- 2 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .194.  Dahl is one of my breakout candidates.  How much will his playing time be affected by the CarGo signing?

Ryan McMahon, 1B, Rockies- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .368.  Impact Rookie candidate but will he platoon with Ian Desmond?

Cory Kluber, RHP, Indians- 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.22.  Kluber usually gets off to a slow start in April and is then lights out after I give up on him.

Francisco Mejia, DH, Indians- 3 for 4, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .444.  Mejia is ready to play in the majors. He needs a position.  Fortunately he plays for an AL team.

AJ Puk, LHP, A's- 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Puk may not start the season in Oakland, but he'll definitely be there and probably quite soon.

Jon Lester, LHP, Cubs- 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.93.  Lester is an ace.

Robbie Ray, LHP, D'Backs- 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 9.00.  Ray is a strikeout machine, but his other numbers are inconsistent.  Will the humidor turn him into an ace?

Archie Bradley, RHP, D'Backs- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 5.68.  I'll bet the D'Backs go with either Boxberger or Hirano at closer and keep Bradley in his multi-inning setup role.  Still has fantasy value in that role.

Kendrys Morales, DH, Blue Jays- 2 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .261.  Morales keeps getting overlooked in fantasy drafts and keeps on producing nice numbers.

Devon Travis, 2B, Blue Jays- 1 for 4, HR(2).  BA= 316.  Is this the year Travis stays healthy and has his long predicted breakout?

Marco Estrada, RHP, Blue Jays- 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 1.13.  Estrada is a flyball pitcher in a bandbox park and division.  If the ball is still juiced, he'll continue to struggle.

Michael Fulmer, RHP, Tigers- 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.60.  Tigers are probably biding their time until they get a huge offer for Fulmer.

Steven Matz, LHP, Mets- 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 15.88.  Matz has struggled with injuries.  this 4 inning start suggests those might be behind him.

Chris Sale, LHP, Red Sox- 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.25.  He may not be Mr Congeniality, but he sure can pitch.

Dan Straily, RHP, Marlins- 4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K, ERA= 2.00. Strailly can be sneaky valuable in a QS league like mine.

Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins- 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.23.  Berrios broke out in the second half last year.  Can he sustain it in 2018?


FA Signings:

Mike Moustakas took a 1 year deal with the Royals.

The Rockies are bringing CarGo back on a 1 year deal.  A ton of LH bats on that roster.

Jonathan Lucroy reportedly signing with the A's.  No confirmation or terms at this time.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/8/2018: Giants 4 Mariners 0

Giants pitching dominated the Mariners while the travel offense scratched out 4 runs.  Got to watch it on the MLB channel.  Key Lines:

Steven Duggar CF- 0 for 4.  BA= .292.  Duggar is 0 for 7 in his last 2 games.  He made a nice running catch in R-CF on a moderately difficult ball to get to and made it look easy.

Kelby Tomlinson SS- 2 for 3, SB(1).  BA= .238.  Kelby also made a nice throw from the edge of he OF grass in the hole to nail a runner at 1B.

Chase d'Arnaud 3B- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .364.  Does d'Arnaud have a chance at a roster spot with his ability to play multiple IF positions?

Jarrett Parker DH- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .192.  Parker is out of options which may work in his favor on cut down day.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.60.  Cueto was shimmyin' and shakin' and quick-pitchin' and generally lookin' like he was in mid-season form while he was freezin' the Mariners hitters.

Derek Holland LHP- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 4/0.  ERA= 3.52.  Holland's stuff looked impressive and with good command.  He was more dominant than the line looks.

Steven Okert- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 2.25.  The O-boys are impressive so far.  Is there room on the Opening Day roster for both of them plus Tony Watson?

Julian Fernandez RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 54.00.  Wow!  After a couple of rough early spring appearances, Fernandez showed why the Giants took a chance on him in the Rule 5 draft.  95 MPH out of bed, 97 on his second pitch.  He finished his night with a curveball that I'm pretty sure passed over the Grand Canyon before dropping in on a helpless hitter.  He's all arms and legs and elbows and knees with a loose, fluid delivery.  Gotta think if there is any way for the Giants to hang onto him, they'll want to.

Reyes Maronta RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 7.71.  The Mariners announcing team said he was throwing 96 MPH, but the ball looked like it was getting up there faster than Fernandez' 97 MPH.  Maronta loaded the bases before finishing off the Mariners.  The hit was really an error on Alen Hanson who mis-timed his jump on a soft liner.  The announcers were critical of his pitch selection, messing around with breaking stuff with with a 4 run lead.  Hey!  Spring training is for working on stuff, right?


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Noah Syndergaard, SP, Mets:  3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 1.08.  Thor hit 101 MPH and K'd 7 consecutive batters.  Injury risk, but right now the most dominant SP in baseball.

Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets:  3 for 5, 2B, 3B.  BA= .385.  Former first rounder.  Is he ready to start in CF for the Mets?

Carlos Martinez, SP, Cardinals:  4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.38.

Aaron Altherr, OF, Phillies:  1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .286.  I have Altherr as a sleeper/breakout candidate, but can he beat out Nick Williams for the starting RF job or will he be on the short end of a platoon?

Didi Gregorius, SS, Yankees:  1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .316.  Gregorius is my SS target, but there's another guy in my league who loves to draft Yankees players, so I'll have to have a backup plan.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., DH, Blue Jays:  4 for 5.  BA= .800.  Junior is what, just 18 yo?  How long are they going to be able to keep this kid down on the farm?  What a force of nature!

Anthony Alford, OF, Blue Jays:  3 for 5, 2 2B, 3B.  BA= .364.  Alford is, like, 3'rd on the BJ's LF depth chart.  Would they really rather play Randall Grichuk in RF?

Aaron Sanchez, SP, Blue Jays:  3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.86.

Ian Happ, CF- 1 for 3, 3B.  BA= .429.  Happ seems to be winning the starting CF job with the Cubs.  He's also 2B eligible in most leagues.

Tyler Chatwood, SP, Cubs:  3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 5/0.  ERA= 1.80.  Chatwood won't give you a lot of K's, but he will put up solid numbers in other non-Save categories.

Danny Duffy, SP, Royals:  3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.60.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Scouting the 2018 Draft: 4 High School Arms

The deepest demographic in this draft class is HS pitching.  While pitching is the Giants biggest organizational need, they can take a position player at #2 overall and start drafting pitching in round 2 and get someone with ace potential.  Here are 4 who could be there at #44-47, wherever the Giants end up with their second pick:

Ethan Reed, RHP, HS.  6'4", 195 lbs.  93 MPH FB with plus command and a pretty good changeup and curveball to go with it.  Lots of room to fill out.

Dominic Pipkin, RHP, HS.  6'4", 170 lbs.  Local kid from Pinole.  Has hit 95-96 MPH in showcases. Scouts think he can fill out his frame.

Cole Winn, RHP, HS.  6'2", 195 lbs.  94 MPH.  Advanced mix of pitches.

Slade Cecconi, RHP, HS.  6'4", 195 lbs.  96-97 MPH.  Already with great velocity with tons of projection in his frame.


DrB's 2018 Top Tier Draft Board:

1.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
2.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
4.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
5.  Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ of South Florida).
6.  Travis Swaggerty, OF, College(Univ of South Alabama).
7.  Logan Gilbert, RHP, College(Stetson).
8.  Mason Denaberg, RHP, HS.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/7/2018: Giants 4 Padres 4(10 innings)

The Giants fielded an almost Opening Day lineup and battled the Padres to an extra-inning tie.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .421.  Belt is having a strong spring BA-wise.

Andrew McCutchen RF- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .400.  Cutch is looking good too.

Evan Longoria 3B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .286.  Longoria actually doesn't have to do much to be a huge upgrade on last year's 3B situation.

Brandon Crawford SS- 2 for 3.  BA= .294.  Looking for a big year from Crawford.

Mac Williamson PH/DH- 1 for 2, 3B.  BA= .385.  Mac can't stop hitting the snot out of the ball.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 3.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.50.  15 K's in 8 IP on the spring.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, GO/AO= 2/0.  ERA= 0.00.  Melancon Acknowledged his arm is not 100% after the appearance, but thinks it is "part of the process."

Chris Stratton RHP- 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.25.  11 K's in 8 IP for Stratton on the spring.

Tony Watson also pitched a scoreless frame.


Fantasy Focus:

Blake Snell(Rays)- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.29.  I have Snell as a breakout candidate.

Aaron Nola(Phillies)- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 5.00.

Drew Hutchison(Phillies)- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.25.  Comeback candidate?

Zack Wheeler(Mets)- 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.80.  Comeback candidate?

Junior Guerra(Brewers)- 4 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.80.  Another Comeback candidate?

Marco Gonzalez LHP(Mariners)- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Jharel Cotton RHP(A's)- 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 5.63.  Cotton had a great first start followed by a disaster start.  This was more like the first.

Yoan Moncada 2B(White Sox)- 3 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .273.  I have Moncada as a breakout candidate but many others do too.

Fantasy Focus: Spring Performances 3/6/2018

Spring training stats are probably not the best way to scout your fantasy team's draft strategy, but it's hard to not take a peek here and there and see who might be fixing for a breakout.  My belief is that spring pitching performances are more predictive of regular season performance than hitting, but I can't prove that.  In the absence of a Giants game wrap for yesterday, I'll just post a few lines from around the league.

Charlie Morton(Astros)- 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  This was his second appearance of the spring.

Jack Flaherty(Cardinals)- 4 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 6.25.  Flaherty is not generally a big strikeout pitcher.

Reynaldo Lopez(White Sox)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.80.  The walks are a red flag.

Zack Godley(D'Backs)- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Watch out for Godley and the rest of the D'Backs rotation.  How will the humidor affect their stat lines?  Godley is not exactly a sleeper, but he's not considered elite either.  He could be poised for a huge breakout.

Chris Young(Padres)- 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.86.  Does Young have anything left in the tank?  He may have a few good starts left in him, but is unlikely to pitch a full season in a starting rotation.

Remember Jason Kipnis?  He's hit 6 dingers in 6 games for the Indians.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Scouting the 2018 Draft: Luken Baker; Sean Hjelle

Luken Baker, 1B/DH, College(TCU).   B-R, T-R.  6'3", 265 lbs.

2016:  .379/.483/.577, 11 HR, 30 BB, 32 K, 248 AB.
2017:  .317/.454/.528, 8 HR, 40 BB, 36 K, 161 AB.
2018:  .355/.474/.613, 6 BB, 7 K, 31 AB.

I could swear I already profiled Baker, but I can't seem to find the post, so here goes, possibly again.  Baker, whose parents were obviously Waylon Jennings fans, was a highly ranked 2-way prospect out of HS who chose to go to college.  He pitched and hit well his freshman season but suffered an arm injury and focused exclusively on hitting.  He sophomore season was cut short by a leg injury, but he seems healthy this year.  He's a disciplined hitter with power.  He's severely limited defensively to 1B or DH so would be a better fit in an AL organization.  I would project him as a 2'nd or 3'rd round draft pick by an AL team that really believes in the bat.


Sean Hjelle, RHP, College(Kentucky).  6'11", 215 lbs.

2017:  11-4, 3.59, 108.2 IP, 33 BB, 102 K.
2018:  3-0, 0.97, 19.2 IP, 3 BB, 18 K.

Hjelle is a super tall, skinny RHP who can pound the strike zone with a low-mid 90's FB and a knuckle curve that seems to drop from the sky.  He has excellent command for a kid that tall.  His frame can carry more weight, but he'll probably always be thin.  My comp for him is Doug Fister, another tall pitcher who uses his height to keep the ball on the ground.  Late first round or second round talent.


I am going to change the way I report my draft board as continuing to add each new player profiled to the board is proving to be just too much work and a barrier to future profiles.  Instead, I will keep it to my top tier.  Today, I shake up my board with some major changes which I will discuss below:

1.  Nander De Sedas, SS, HS.
2.  Jarred Kelenic, OF, HS.
3.  Kumar Rocker, RHP, HS.
4.  Matthew Liberatore, LHP, HS.
5.  Shane McClanahan, LHP, College(Univ. of South Florida).
6.  Travis Swaggerty, OF, College(Univ. of South Alabama).
7.  Mason Denaberg, RHP, HS.
8.  Logan Gilbert, RHP, College(Stetson).

Ethan Hankins drops off the board due to a sore shoulder.  The odds are against HS pitchers enough if they are fully healthy.  Sore shoulders make the risk prohibitive.  He'll be off my board until he proves he is healthy again.

Instead of rebounding to his freshman goodness, Seth Beer is off to a slow start to the 2018 college season.  He's was only so-so last year and has not performed well in wood bat leagues.  Add in his limited defensive profile and I don't think the bat is proving to be good enough to overcome that.

I've never been in love with Brady Singer's delivery. While he has pitched OK this season, he has not been nearly as dominating as at the end of last year.

Liberatore is a big, strong lefty with tons of projection who is reportedly hitting the high 90's.  Could the Giants see another Madison Bumgarner in him?

Shane McClanahan is quieting doubters with premium stuff and dominating pitching lines in the college boxscores.  He does not have classic MLB pitcher size.

Many analyists seem to think that Nick Madrigal is the top college position player, but he seems like a severely undersized 2B to me.  Swaggerty is climbing the rankings and appears to be this year's version of Andrew Benintendi.

Mason Denaberg is a 2-way HS player who profiles as a pitcher, has great size and is throwing hard.  I loved him when I profiled him and now he is climbing many boards.

Logan Gilbert continues to impress, but I worry about the strength of his college competition.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/5/2018: Rangers 5 Giants 4

Ty Blach recorded the longest appearance by a Giants pitcher this spring as the Giants came up short agains the Rangers.  Key Lines:

Austin Jackson CF- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .500.  Jackson has not appeared much so far this spring but has done fine when he did.  The big question with him is whether his CF defense is any better, or even as good as Denard Span's was last year and whether Steven Duggar would be a better defender.  The problem for us fans is there is a lot we don't know about how to judge that.  By at least one defensive metric, UZR/150, Jackson has been a worse defender in CF over the past 2 seasons than Denard Span, who the Giants dumped in a trade apparently because of his bad defense.

There are other published metrics out there that seem to show Jackson being an upgrade on Span, but still not a plus defender in CF.  On top of all that, the Giants almost certainly have their own proprietary defensive stats that may show something completely different.  Fangraphs writers openly acknowledge that MLB teams have access to way more information than Fangraphs staff.  Then there is Steven Duggar who has drawn rave reviews for his defense, but minor league defensive data is virtually nonexistent.  I would assume and hope the Giants compile their own defensive data that goes beyond the "eye test".

Kyle Jenson PH/DH- 1 for 1, HR(5).  BA= .545.  Yup, Jenson is definitely channeling Randy Elliott this spring.

Chase d'Arnaud 3B- 0 for 1, 2 BB.  BA= .333.  Is d'Arnaud a darkhorse to win a roster spot?  He's playing all over the IF and hitting well while Kelby seems to have disappeared.

Trevor Brown C- 0 for 1, BB, SF.  BA= .091.  Somehow Brown has accumulated enough spring AB's to have a .091 BA.  Who knew?  He had a pretty good game here despite lowering his BA.

Ty Blach LHP- 3.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 5/0.  Blach gained more ground in his bid for a rotation spot.  His stuff might not have been quite as sharp as his first 2 starts, but he still kept the ball on the ground and listed the damage.

Andrew Suarez LHP- 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K. ERA= 7.71.  Barring a dramatic turnaround, Blach will win a rotation spot and Suarez will go to Sacramento for more salt.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/4/2018: Dodgers 9 Giants 3

The Giants lost a lopsided game to the Hated Ones, but that doesn't mean there weren't a few good moments in the game.   The great thing about spring training games is the final score does not count, but individual developments within the game do.  You can almost always find a positive or two.  Key Lines:

Mac Williamson PR/RF- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .429.  I don't think Mac has a chance for a 25 man roster spot.  The Giants are going to want him to get regular AB's and barring injury, Pence and McCutchen will be the starting corner OF's.  Mac is making a statement that Giants management will remember when and if something happens on the injury front.  Not that we're hoping for that.

Steven Duggar CF- 1 for 1, HR(3), BB.  BA= .412.  Steven Duggar, on the other hand, does not have a definite veteran starting blocking his path to a 25 man roster spot.  Again, Duggar will either start every day in CF for the Giants or he will do the same in Sacramento, but unlike Mac, he has a real shot at being in the starting lineup for the Giants on Opening Day.  Bochy keeps insisting that Duggar has a path to win the Giants starting CF spot.  If the Giants are truly open to that possibility, they have to be thinking Duggar is winning it at this point.

Gregor Blanco PH/CF- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .538.  In the scenario where Duggar wins the starting CF job, Blanco and Austin Jackson would be the reserve OF's.  In the scenario where Duggar goes to Sacramento for more salt, Blanco and Jackson, or Blanco and Gorkys would form a CF platoon.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 8.10.  You know, that is kind of an ugly line, but it's still early in the spring.

Tony Watson LHP- 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K. ERA= 18.00.  Was this Watson's first appearance of the spring?

Josh Osich and Derek Law pitched 1 scoreless inning each.

Blast From the Past: The Legend of Randy Elliott

It was the spring of 1977.  Back in those days, even the most ardent fans were lucky to know the name of the first overall draft pick in the amateur draft.  Aside from the weekly Giantics article in the Sporting News along with a list of the top BA's and ERA's in each organization, you just had no idea who might be a good prospect.  Randy Elliott was a former first round draft pick of the San Diego Padres.  In fact,  he was their first ever first round pick in 1969 according to a SFGate article from 2003.  He made his MLB debut in 1972 but hurt his shoulder which became a chronic injury with recurrent dislocations.  Nowadays, there would probably be a surgery to correct that.  It might take a full year or two to fully recover, but Elliott might have had a much different career with modern medical care and rehabilitation.  Instead, he had a trick shoulder that tended to pop out at inopportune times.

Elliott signed a minor league contract with the Giants after the 1976 season and attended Fall Instructional League where Giants minor league instructor Hank Sauer thought he had more than a chance to turn into a hidden gem.  He was invited to spring training.  The shoulder was healthy and Elliott started hitting and hitting and hitting some more.  Giants beat writer Bob Stevens started writing breathless articles in the Chronicle.  Elliott finished the spring 29 for 53(.547) with 18 XBH's.  He was supposed to form a LF platoon with Darrell Evans but was hit by a pitch in the bad shoulder in his first AB of the season in Game 2.  The shoulder popped out later in the game and he hit under .200 for April.  He actually went on to have the best season of his MLB career hitting .240 with 7 HR in 167 AB's, but the Giants released him after the season.  He tried to make a comeback with the Oakland A's in 1980, but the shoulder was never right again and that was the end of the road.

Where is he now?  Elliott ran a daycare center with his wife in Ogden, Utah for several years.  He eventually moved back to his hometown of Camarillo, CA where he gives private baseball lessons, at least as of the SFGate article in 2003.

So, that is the Legend of Randy Elliott, the quintessential spring phenom.  Ever since, whenever the Giants have an unknown or a retread tear it up in spring training, the name Randy Elliott inevitably is brought up.  He's the poster boy for why spring training performance might be the single worst criteria for choosing a MLB roster.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/3/2018: Giants 9 Rangers 4; Giants 13 Indians 4

The Giants backed Johnny Cueto's spring debut with 4 dingers to dominate the Rangers in Scottsdale.    Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .400.  Looking for a big season from Panik.  He's gotta stay healthy.  Both hits came of lefty Cole Hamels.

Steven Duggar CF- 2 for 2, 2 SB(2).  BA= .375.  Duggar went yard yesterday.  Today he showed off his speed with a couple of SB's.  Let's see....the 5 tools are hit, hit for power, run, catch, throw.  Yep, Duggar pretty much does them all, and quite well too!  Heres a true 5-tooler who could very well win the starting CF job for a contending team and yet he's not a top 100 prospect?    I would bet a lot that there is at least 1 prospect in BA's or MLB's top 100 who has neither the ceiling nor proximity to the majors that Duggar has.

Evan Longoria 3B- 2 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .333.  Longoria makes his first spring start in the field and shows why the Giants traded for him.

Gregor Blanco CF/LF- 1 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .545.  Blanco is competing for a roster spot.

Chris Shaw LF- 2 for 2, HR(1).  BA= .412.  Shaw is probably not competing for a roster spot, but he's putting himself more clearly on the Giants radar screen for the future.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 9.00.  First spring start.  Getting his work in. Gave up a leadoff double then a dinger to Shin-Soo Choo.  Settled down after that.

Derek Holland LHP- 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.79.  8 K's in 4.2 IP in his first 2 spring starts.


Tyler Beede's second spring start went much better than his first and Mac had a huge game as the Giants road team dominated the Indians home team.  Key Lines:

Austin Jackson CF- 2 for 2, 2B.  BA= .500.  Jackson has not played much yet, but doing well when he does.

Gorkys Hernandez RF- 1 for 3, HR(1).  BA= .250.  Another guy who is competing for a roster spot.

Jarrett Parker DH- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .211.  Parker has these flashes amidst long stretches of 0'fers.

Mac Williamson LF- 3 for 4, HR(3), SB(1).  BA= .421.  Huge game for Mac.  He'll probably start the season in Sacramento, but I could see him being the starting LF before the season is over.

Dylan Davis LF- 1 for 1, HR(1).  BA= .250.  There was a parade of prospects in the late innings of the split squad games.  Davis' dinger stands out.

Tyler Beede RHP- 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 7.20.  The 1 hit was a dinger.  Other than that, Beede was much sharper than his first start of the spring.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/2/2018: Reds 3 Giants 2

The Reds and Giants played something resembling a MLB game with the Reds coming from behind to edge the Giants in scrub time.  Key Lines:

Steven Duggar CF- 1 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .286.  Just to be clear, I want Steven Duggar to win the starting CF job out of spring training.  He took another step toward that today.  He should be the best defensive option and in the long run, the best offensive option too.

Kyle Jensen 1B- 1 for 2, HR(4).  BA= .556.  Jensen is definitely this year's Randy Elliott.

Miguel Gomez 2B- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .400.  Gomez can hit.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.86.  3 perfect frames for Bummy with 4 K's.  Can't ask for much more than that.  Looking for a Cy Young contending season from the big guy.

Sam Dyson/Hunter Strickland RHP's- 1 scoreless IP each.  0.00 ERA's.


Fantasy Watch- Amir Garrett LHP(Reds)- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Garrett had a couple of good starts last year then mysteriously fell apart.  Injuries may have been involved.  Pretty good bounceback candidate in 2018.

Other fantasy pertinent lines from around the league:

Garrett Richards(Angels)- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 4/1.  ERA= 1.80.
Junior Guerra(Brewers)- 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.50
Marco Gonzalez(Mariners)- 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.  ERA= 0.00
Jake Odirizzi()- 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Masahiro Tanaka(Yankees)- 1.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 27.00.
Jordan Montgomery(Yankees)- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Drew Pomeranz(Red Sox) exited his start early due to the dreaded forearm tightness.

Tom Koehler(Dodgers) is getting an MRI for shoulder pain.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/1/2018: Angels 11 Giants 4

The Giants had a pretty good game going through 6 innings before the wheels fell off in scrub time.  Key Lines:

Gorkys Hernandez PR-RF- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .333.  Hernandez is a bette defender than Austin Jackson and not a lock to be a worse hitter.

Mac Williamson PH/DH- 1 for 1, 2B.  BA= .357.  If Mac is suddenly a 30 HR guy, everybody in baseball is going to pay a visit to Justin Turner's hitting coach.

Gregor Blanco CF- 2 for 2.  BA= .556.  I could see Duggar starting the season in Sacramento and Blanco being the strong end of a CF platoon.  The short side will likely be Austin Jackson, but Gorkys might be a better choice.

Chris Shaw LF- 2 for 2.  BA= .357.  After a slow start, Shaw is on fire.

Jonah Arenado 3B- 1 for 2.  BA= .500.  Arenado had been hitting, but committed his 2'nd error of the spring at 3B.

Chris Stratton RHP- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 4/0.  ERA= 0.00.  The big news of the day. Second spring starts can be perilous, but Stratton and Blach were both sensational.  To me, those two are the keys to the season.  If they can fill out the rotation and deliver average to good results, the Giants should be in good shape.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, GO/AO= 2/0.  ERA= 0.00.  Osich has had good stretches in the past.  He has to find a way to keep it going.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Gearrin should be a lock for a bullpen slot.

Julian Fernandez RHP- 0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 216.00.  Ouch!  Another shellacking for the kid.  He's got to start getting outs or the Giants will have to offer him back to the Rockies.


Ryder Jones will miss at least 10 more days with a sore hammy.

Hector Sanchez will miss 2 weeks with a sore hammy.

Buster Posey will be held out until next Tuesday with a sore ankle.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Chasing Steals and 20/20 Guys

Stolen Bases are way down around MLB for several reasons.  They have long been a target of sabermetric enthusiasts as a bad bet.  Statistically, you need around a 70% success rate for them to be a net benefit.  Instant replay has made it harder to successfully steal bases.  A runner can beat the throw by 10 feet and still be out if he comes off the bag for a nanosecond.  More and more, the benefit of that extra base is just not worth the risk.  SB's are still a category in most fantasy baseball formats so a strategy for dealing with them is essential.  One viable strategy is to just punt the category.  The seasons I have had the most success in fantasy baseball are the ones where I have just filled my roster with guys who hit dingers, period.  I generally don't advise completely punting any category, but if you have to punt 1, Steals is your choice.

Another very viable strategy is to overpay for the 2 guys who can give you a lot of SB's, Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon, then fill up the rest of your roster with dinger hitters.  Last year, Hamilton stole 60 bases and Gordon stole 59.  Nobody else was above 35 and only 2 others had as many as 30. So, if you had both Hamilton and Gordon, you had a great shot at winning the category even if the rest of your team had zero.

The other time-honored strategy is to stockpile 20/20 guys.  The problem with this strategy is the paucity of players who fit that description and 20 dingers ain't what it used to be.  If you have a roster full of 20 dinger players, you will likely come up short in the power categories.  As you will see, players with 20 SB's and over 30 dingers are extremely rare and you will pay a high price.  Here is a list of all 8 20/20 players from last season(HR/SB):

Jose Altuve- 24/32.

Mookie Betts- 24/26.

Tommy Pham- 23/25.

Elvis Andrus- 20/25.

Brett Gardner- 21/23.

Mike Trout- 33/22.

Andrew Benintendi- 20/20.

Wil Myers- 30/20.

That's it.  Paul Goldschmidt went 36/18.