Saturday, March 31, 2018

Game Wrap 3/31/2018: Dodgers 5 Giants 0

Reality came crashing down on the Giants as Derek Holland pitched like....Derek Holland while the lineup did not hit but the fielders did poor work.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 5.  BA= .417.  No dingers tonight, but Panik continued his hot hitting with a pair of singles.

Buster Posey C- 2 for 3.  BA= .222.  Buster had the only XBH of the night for the Giants with a double.

Gregor Blanco CF- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .667.  Blanco had a nice night at the plate, but dropped a can of corn flyball in right CF to let in 2 unearned runs.  In Blanco's defense, McCutchen thought he was still playing CF and apparently missed Blanco's frantic calls and signals that he had it.  Cutch went behind Blanco at the last second, but the distraction probably caused Blanco's miscue.  Cutch also missed a diving catch on a flyball to RF by Chris Taylor that got by him for a triple and came home on a SF.  McCutchen was not charge with an error.  So Blanco got charged with an error while McCutchen did not, but Cutch probably cost the Giants 3 runs in this game, not that it mattered in the end.

Derek Holland LHP- 5 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.40.  Holland actually pitched better than this line looks.   The first inning was rough, but he only allowed 1 hit over the next 4 innings and that was Taylor's triple, which maybe should not have been a triple.  It definitely was not hit hard.

Sam Dyson RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  At this point any scoreless inning by Dyson is a good sign.  I would not trust him in a high leverage situation just yet, but progress is progress.  Hopefully this inning was something to build on.


The Rockies topped the D'Backs 2-1 so the Giants and D'Backs remained tied for first place in the NL West, 1 game ahead of the Dodgers and Rockies.  The Padres lost again to the Brewers and on in the cellar at 0-3.

Chris Stratton tries for a series in a twilight game tomorrow with Rich Hill taking the mound for the Dodgers.  Those twilight games in Dodger Stadium are very tough for hitters.


Rule 5 draft pick, Julian Fernandez, reportedly will indeed undergo "Tommy John" surgery for a torn UCL.  While it means the Giants will have to pay him the league minimum of $545 K, they can also keep him on the DL all season without offering him back to the Rockies.  He can then stay in the Giants organization with 3 Options as long as he remains on the 40 man roster.  If he fully recovers, the Giants will have a premium relief pitching prospect and have 3 more years to develop him.  That is well worth the investment, unless it puts them over the CBT threshold this season.

Fantasy Focus: Your 2018 Savvy Vets

So my fantasy baseball league had its auction draft Friday night, a day late, which means we don't start playing until week 2 which starts Monday, April 9.  Seems our commissioner thought the season started on April 1 when he reserved the draft time on Yahoo.  We have a 10 team league with 26 rosters spots.  We converted to a Keeper League this year(announced at the beginning of last season) with each team keeping 2 position players and 2 pitchers.  We got to keep our full $260 auction budget.  With 40 of what would have been the most expensive players coming free as Keepers, it threw any auction values owners were used to and had read about way out of whack and it showed.  I believe every single owner ended up with money on the table at the end of the draft.  My Keepers were Nolan Arenado 3B, Bryce Harper OF, Madison Bumgarner SP, Edwin Diaz RP.  I had $23 left which was about average for the other owners.  With that background, here is the team I ended up with at the end of the draft.  I will make a few comments about what I could/should have done with the $23 later.

C   Welington Castillo $6
1B Freddie Freeman $58
2B Dee Gordon $38
3B Nolan Arenado K
SS Addison Russell $12
IF  Kendrys Morales $2
OF Bryce Harper K
OF Domingo Santana $7
OF Gregory Polanco $4
UT Carlos Santana $10
UT Justin Bour $2
SP  Madison Bumgarner K
SP  Jose Berrios $5
SP  Kyle Hendricks $20
SP  Jon Lester $12
SP Zack Godley $17
RP Edwin Diaz K
RP  Kelvin Herrera $16
RP  Cam Bedrosian $4
P    Archie Bradley $6
P    Hunter Strickland $1
B   Garrett Richards $7
B   Blake Snell $3
B   Josh Bell $10
B   AJ Minter $1
B   Jakob Junis $1

Closers were going for crazy prices throughout the draft as you can see from how much I paid for Kelvin Herrera.  I was lucky to already know Strickland had been officially named Closer for the Giants so I got him very cheap.  My 2 big regrets regarding the $23 I left on the table is I could have bid higher for Didi Gregorius who I really wanted as my SS.  I also could have bid more for a better Closer, or more for Delino DeShields who I really wanted to be a 1-2 SB threat with Dee.

We have a 40 move limit once the season starts, but our commissioner is allowing unlimited moves until tomorrow night.  Here are the moves I have made so far to clean up my roster:

1.  Dropped Kendrys Morales.  Added Tim Anderson.  I was definitely influenced by Anderson's huge game on Opening Day, but I was looking at him as a possible breakout SS this year.  His K/BB is horrendous though.  Morales had done good things for my teams in the past, but seems to be losing AB's in Toronto and only cost me $2.  I'm willing to take a flyer on Anderson's breakout being real for that price.

2.  Dropped Cam Bedrosian.  Added Addison Reed.  I just think Reed is a better Closer-In-Waiting for the Twins than Bedrock Jr. is for the Angels.

3.  Moved Madison Bumgarner DL.  Added Miles Mikolas.  This was a no brainer as Bum will be on the DL for awhile.

4. Dropped Justin Bour.  Added Sean Newcomb.  In a league where rosters are reset daily, I hate using roster spots on anything but SP who I can stream in and out of the rotation.  It was a choice between Josh Bell and Bour.  I am much higher on Bell.

I am still considering whether to swap out Archie Bradley for a marginal Closer like Joakim Soria or Nate Jones and whether to stash AJ Minter as a sleeper Closer-In-Waiting.  Minter is interesting from everything I've read, but the opportunity cost might be too high.


We have 2 NA slots which I had forgotten how to access.  We have to add the player to our regular roster first then move them to the NA slot.  This morning I dropped Archie Bradley and picked up Eloy Jimenez and moved him to one NA slot.  Then I picked up David Dahl and moved him to an NA slot.  I then picked up Tyler Skaggs to replace Bradley.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Game Wrap 3/30/2018: Giants 1 Dodgers 0

It was deja vu all over again as Joe Panik became the first player in baseball history to hit home runs in consecutive 1-0 games.  Really? That had to have been done by someone somewhere in the long, amazing history of major league baseball!  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 3, HR(2), Sac.  BA= .429.  Panik broke up a 0-0 tie leading off the top of the 9'th inning with a dinger off Kenley Jansen.  Again, I thought Panik  got noticeably better at turning on pitches and driving them last year.  He's already done it twice to open this season.  Panik's bomb was only the Giants second hit of the game.  Brandon Crawford had the other hit and it was on an IF dribbler. Speaking of Jansen, his FB was 89-91 MPH and did not look like it had much zip. I wonder if all those multi-inning appearances in the post-season took their toll on his arm?  We'll see.

Johnny Cueto RHP-  7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Were it not for Panik's heroics, Johnny Cueto would be the big story of this game.  I think we would all agree that for the Giants to have a chance to weather this string of pitching injuries, Cueto has to pitch like an ace.  He did that tonight despite an ump who I thought clearly squeezed him all night while giving the opposing pitcher, Alex Wood, a very generous zone.  Cueto started the game with a crisp FB at 90-91 MPH and built that up to 93 before the night was done.  He also had his secondary pitches and his variety of timing-buster moves working to perfection.  He took a perfecto into the 7'th inning when he gave up a leadoff jam-shot single to Chris Taylor, but quickly erased him on a GIDP by Corey Seager to end up facing the minimum number of batters over 7 innings.

Tony Watson LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Watson looked very sharp again to preserve the shutout until Panik could untie it in the 9'th.

Hunter Strickland RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(2).  ERA= 0.00.  I told my daughter as Strick was warming up that we would find out what he's made of now.  Closing out consecutive 1-0 games against the Dodgers would impress me.  Well, I'm impressed!  I do have to say he got away with a couple of mistake pitches, hanging sliders on the inside corner, to Logan Forsythe, but was otherwise impressive in nailing down his second Save in the first 2 games of the season.

Alex Wood LHP(Dodgers)- IMO, Wood had a generous strike zone to work with, but he also had nasty stuff.  None of the Giants hitters appeared to be seeing him well, but the lefty batters in the lineup, Panik, Belt and Crawford looked particularly helpless.

Logan Forsythe 3B(Dodgers)- 0 for 3, 3 E.  BA= .000.  As Kruk would say, Forsythe had a rough night.  Fortunately for him, none of his 3 errors played any role in the scoring other than possibly extending Wood's pitch count depriving him of a chance to go a full 9.  Corey Seagar let a ball go under his glove at SS, so the Dodgers committed 4 errors in all.


The Giants and D'Backs are now tied for first place with 2-0 records while the Rockies, Padres and Dodgers are all 2 games back at 0-2.

Derek Holland gets the start tomorrow night facing Kenta Maeda.


In a somewhat surprising move, the Giants released OF Jarrett Parker.  No word on whether Parker asked to be released, although that would not be a surprise.  He may well think he has a shot at MLB playing time with some other organization.  I guess we'll find out.  The Giants may also think they have too many OF's in the upper minors.   Even without Parker, it looks like the Sacramento starting OF will be Mac, Austin Slater and Chris Shaw, pushing Steven Duggar down to AA Richmond, and Duggar must be saying WTF to himself.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Game Wrap 3/29/2018: Giants 1 Dodgers 0

Ty Blach once again got the best of Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, the bullpen stepped up and Joe Panik's dinger was the only run they needed on Opening Day.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .500.  I noticed last year that Panik was starting to do a better job of turning on inside pitches and pulling them down the RF line.  That's exactly what he did in this game to get the Giants the only run they needed.

Ty Blach LHP- 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K, GO/AO= 8/1.  ERA= 0.00.  As Kruk and Kuip say, "Ownage is ownage."  Blach has the Dodgers number in general and Clayton Kershaw's in particular. Amazing!

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  It wasn't a clean inning, but the 2 K's are encouraging.  Giants gonna be facing a lot of LH batters this year.   They need Osich to keep this up.

Cory Gearrin RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  This must have been the closest the Dodgers came to scoring all day.

Tony Watson LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Watson had a rough spring, but he sure answered the bell today!

Hunter Strickland RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(1).  ERA= 0.00.  Wow!  Bochy did the right thing and named Strick the Closer.  He got the job done!


Hey!  For at least one day the Giants are in first place and ahead of the Dodgers in the standings by one game.

Johnny Cueto gets the call tomorrow facing another LHP, Alex Wood.

Predictions: 2018

Time for predictions.  If you are looking for surprises, you can stop reading now.


1.  Yankees- They have build a superteam.  Aaron Judge may regress.  Giancarlo Stanton could get hurt. They would still probably win their division.  The starting pitching is only above average but the beastly bullpen has multi-inning, triple digit options stretching as far as the eye can see.

2.  Red Sox- The lineup is top notch with added power in JD Martinez, but the pitching is shaky at best.

3.  Blue Jays- Interesting mix of young and old talent, but until some uber-prospects like Vlad Jr. come online, they will significantly trail the top tier.

4.  Orioles- Shoulda traded Manny Machado when they had a chance.  Maybe they still will.

5.  Rays- Rebuilding.


Indians- Might have the top pitching in baseball.  Bold prediction:  Yonder Alonso builds on last year's breakout.

Twins- I expect Byron Buxton to build on last year's second half.  He's hitting 8'th.  The Lance Lynn signing significantly boosts their chances.

White Sox- The massive flotilla of young talent will start to come aboard and will almost immediately tear things up.  Sleeper team that could finish as high as second place if the Twins falter.

Tigers- I see at least a partial bounceback for Miggy, which will be enough to keep this rebuilding team out of the cellar.

Royals- The lineup is not terrible, but the pitching is.


Astros- Another superteam that will be even better than last year.

Mariners- The pitching is thin but enough to move up in a thin division.

A's- The AJ Put injury was a big blow, but more of a psychological loss than present talent.  The lineup is full of young sluggers.  The pitching will be better than expected.

Angels- Mike Trout is still one of the 2 best players in baseball, but it thins out quickly after that.  The pitching is extremely thin and injury prone.

Rangers- The lineup is not bad, but the pitching looks horrendous.


Nationals- The pitching thins out a bit after Scherzer and Strasburg, but the overall talent level is top 3 in he NL.

Mets- Could challenge the Nationals if the pitchers stay healthy.

Phillies- The Rebuild starts to gain traction.

Braves- Will be noticeably better than last year and get stronger as the young studs gain experience.  Could challenge the Phillies for 3'rd place.

Marlins- Jeter stripped the team for the big rebuild which is years away as a weak farm system did not improve much with the trades, which were mostly pure salary dumps.


1.  Cubs- Lineup and starting pitching are as good as it gets, but the bullpen could be their Achilles heel.

2.  Cardinals- underrated team that will likely be a Wild Card and could challenge the Cubs if everything breaks right.  Terrific collection of young and established talent.

3.  Brewers- BrewCrew went all in on offense.  Should have paid more attention to pitching.

4.  Pirates- Back in strange limbo of not contending and not rebuilding.  Marte and Polanco should bounce back, but the pitching is in rough shape.

5.  Reds- Some spring injuries did not help a weak pitching staff, but enough young talent to challenge the Pirates for 4'th place.


1.  Dodgers- The Turner injury is a big blow and the pitching looks shaky to me after Kershaw and Jensen.  Still enough talent to hold off the Rockies and D'Backs.

2.  Rockies- Will have a ridiculous offense in spite of re-signing CarGo.  The pitching has some questions marks but overall good enough to challenge the Dodgers for first place.

3.  Diamondbacks- The Humidor Effect is expected to make an already strong pitching staff even stronger.  Reports of Zack Grienke's demise are exaggerated.  The bullpen is shaky beyond Archie Bradley.

4.  Padres- Margot, Hosmer and Myers at the top of the lineup will score some runs.  Jose Pirela may lengthen the lineup with a breakout season.  The pitching is in rough shape.

5.  Giants- Sorry Giants fans.  Bobby Evans did a masterful job upgrading the offense and defense while staying under the CBT threshold, but the threshold kept him from addressing weaknesses in the pitching staff.   The entire plan hinged on Madison Bumgarner returning to ace status and Mark Melancon fully recovering from surgery.  With Bum out for at least a third of the season and Melancon obviously not right physically, the pitching is dangerously thin.  Best case scenario is they are a .500 team when Bum returns and then claw their way into a Wild Card spot.  A much more likely scenario is they are 10 games behind in the Wild Card race by the time he gets back and Evans/Sabes hold a midseason firesale.  If that happens, Bumgarner would bring back the biggest return.  The draft, July 2 international signing day and trade deadline loom as the highlights of a tough season.  Unfortunately, a very spoiled fanbase will not take that well and the pitchforks will be out for Sabes, Evans and Bochy.  Ownership is overly sensitive to the wishes of the fanbase so big changes could occur, which would be a mistake, IMO.

AL Playoff Teams:  Yankees, Indians, Astros, Red Sox, Twins.

NL Playoff Teams:  Nationals, Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals, Rockies.

World Series:  Indians over Rockies.

NL MVP:  Trea Turner.

AL MVP:  Jose Altuve

NL Cy Young:  Clayton Kershaw

AL Cy Young:  Cory Kluber

NL ROY:  Ronald Acuna

AL ROY: Eloy Jimenez

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spring Training Update: Opening Day Roster Set?

The Giants Opening Day roster seems set, with 1 exception.  Mark Melancon is currently on the list, but seems likely to be headed to the DL as he is still experiencing discomfort in his surgically repaired right arm.  Here is the rest of the roster:

C   Buster Posey
1B Brandon Belt
2B Joe Panik
3B Even Longoria
SS Brandon Crawford
LF Hunter Pence
CF Austin Jackson
RF Andrew McCutchen

Bench  Nick Hundley, Pablo Sandoval, Kelby Tomlinson, Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez.

SP  Johnny Cueto, Chris Stratton, Derek Holland, Ty Blach

RP Melancon, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, Hunter Strickland, Cory Gearrin, Josh Osich, Roberto Gomez, Pierce Johnson.

RP Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 draft pick, will start the season on the DL with a UCL sprain.  He will reportedly get a second opinion, which may mean someone has already recommended surgery.

Word is Melancon will try to play catch today and then make a decision but a trip to the DL to start the season seems like a strong possibility.  If his arm is not right after this much time to recover from surgery, the troubling question is when will it be?

If Melancon hits the DL, I would think Reyes Maronta or DJ Snelton, who are already on the 40 man roster would be next in line, or maybe Steven Okert who seems to have fallen off the face of the Earth.

I think the biggest disappointment for Giants fans is Steven Duggar not making the team.  Unfortunately, his bat went cold at the wrong time.  Although he continued to play scintillating defense in CF, the Giants were apparently not convinced his D would be enough better then Austin Jackson's to justify the risk that his bat just would not come around while facing MLB pitching.  Their experience last year with several young bats probably influenced that thinking.

What is your take on the Giants Opening Day roster?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Bay Bridge Series Game Wrap 3/27/2018: Giants 3 A's 0

Chris Stratton and several Giants relievers shut down the A's but the Giants got bad news about 2 more pitchers, Julian Fernandez and Mark Melancon.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 1 for 3, 3B.  BA= .288.  Panik seems ready for a big season.

Brandon Belt 1B- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .356.  Belt seems ready for an even bigger season.

Andrew McCutchen RF- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .341.  I expect Cutch's power numbers to sag just a big, but his all-around play will still be a big upgrade.

Hunter Pence LF- 2 for 3.  BA= .314.  Pence got off to a painfully slow start to spring training, but finished strong and ended with a BA over .300.  He seems healthier than he's been for at least 3 years now.

Austin Jackson CF- 1 for 2.  BA= .310.  Jackson had a fine spring and won the starting CF job.  Duggar will start the season in Sacramento.

Chris Stratton RHP- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 3.29.  Stratton may be the ace of the staff right now!

Josh Osich LHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Osich ran the table, allowing no ER for the entire spring. We're talking 10 appearances with 10.1 IP and 15 K's.  Bochy used him in 1-out situations the last 2 appearances and he responded by getting K's both times.

Sam Dyson RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 11.25.  Not a totally convincing performance but an improvement.  He was not scored on in his last 2 appearances of the spring.

Pierce Johnson RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  With pitchers dropping like flies, Johnson just might have pitched his way onto the team.

Derek Law RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.50.  Maybe Law has a shot at a roster spot now?

Mark Melancon RHP- Now the bad news, although I must say not unexpected.  Bochy said that Melancon's arm is still sore after his last B2B appearances and my well start the season on the DL.  He will try to play catch tomorrow before a decision is finalized, but it really doesn't sound good.

Julian Fernandez RHP- He apparently felt something during his last appearance and has been diagnosed with a UCL sprain.  He will get a second opinion.  I must say, since one way for the Giants to keep him in the organization is to put him on the DL all season, the timing of this is a bit suspicious.  If he ends up getting TJ surgery, we'll know it's legit.  If not, it sure is convenient timing.

This is just too good to pass up.  The Dodgers-Angels game was called after 5 innings due to "wet grounds".  The "wet grounds" was a flooding of the 3B dugout and some of the field due to a water main break.  Sideline reporters said it smelled like sewage.  How fitting!!!  The Latrine was flooded with sewage!  LOL!


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Luke Weaver SP, Cardinals- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 0.55.  Breakout Candidate!

Miles Mikolas SP, Cardinals- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.76.  Returnees from Japan are always a bit of an unknown, but Mikolas has gotten stronger as spring training has progressed.

Jose Berrios SP, Twins- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.42.  Breakout Candidate!

Dan Vogelbach 1B, Mariners- 2 for 4, HR(7).  BA= .407.  It's a bit hard to take Vogelbach's spring stats seriously after last year's faceplant, but the kid has hit at every other level.

Charlie Morton SP, Astros- 5.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 4.91.  Last start was a stink bomb.  This one makes him look like a Cy Young candidate.

Aaron Altherr OF, Phillies- 1 for 2, HR(4).  BA= .296.  I've been beating the drum for Altherr all spring.  He played DH in this game while Nick Williams manned RF.

Josh Bell 1B, Pirates-1 for 3, HR(4).  BA= .294.  Bell had a very good season last year.  I look for incremental improvement this year.

Jake Faria SP, Rays- 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 5.12.  Faria has been knocked around this spring, but looked very sharp in this game.  He was not facing the Tigers best hitters, though.

Bay Bridge Series Game Wrap 3/26/2018: A's 9 Giants 2

The A's broke open a 2-2 tie in the top of the 10'th inning for the runaway win.  Key Lines:

Derek Holland LHP- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.05.  If Holland pitches this well in the the regular season, it will be a big boost to the Giants fortunes. Holland had a sub-3 ERA in April and May last year before his season fell apart for some reason.  All the Giants need from his this year is a good April and May.

DJ Snelton LHP- 0.0 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 13.50.  Snelton pitched in very bad luck.  First batter reached on a K/WP.  Second batter his a soft liner to CF for a single.  Next batter found a hole on the left side for another single.  As is typical of many young pitchers, things deteriorated from there and the route was on.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Zack Greinke SP, D'Backs- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.04.  Greinke's velocity was way down early this spring.  No word on what it was yesterday, but this is a great line to finish off the preseason with.  There is a lot of excitement over D'Backs pitchers in general due to the humidor effect.

Brent Suter SP, Brewers- 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.57.  Sleeper alert!

Delino DeShields OF, Rangers- 2 for 3.  BA= .350.  Deshields is not exactly a secret anymore, but his ADP is still lower than Billy Hamilton's and he's likely to bring back better overall value.

AJ Minter RP, Braves- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  If you are looking for a Closer In Waiting late in your draft or to pick up, Minter is the guy in ATL.  The next Craig Kimbrel?

Didi Gregorius SS, Yankees- 1 for 2, HR(5), BB.  BA= .283.  I want Didi, but I'm afraid my Yankees fan friend will fight me for him in our auction draft.  I need a backup plan.

Michael Wacha SP, Cardinals- 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.32.  Wacha has had a rough couple of years, but seems healthier this spring.  Don't bet a lot on him, but with the dearth of pitching around the league, he might be worth a late round flyer.

Dominic Leone RP, Cardinals- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K, Save(4).  ERA= 0.90.  With Gregerson on the DL, Leone will start the season as the Cardinals Closer.  He may not relinquish that after Gregerson gets back.  Many analysts believe Leone would eventually take over even is Gregerson was healthy and started the season as the Closer.

Teoscar Hernandez OF, Blue Jays- 2 for 2, 3B, SB(3).  BA= .365.  The BJ's seem set on starting Randall Grichuk in RF which keeps Teoscar from being a nice sleeper pick.

Nate Eovaldi SP, Marlins- 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.24.  If Eovaldi is finally healthy, he could be an option in a pitching-starved market.

Francisco Liriano SP, Tigers- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.25.  Liriano runs hot and cold.  If you catch him at the right time, he can give you a good run.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Bay Bridge Series Game Wrap 3/25/2018: Giants 5 A's 1

Johnny Cueto held the A's to 1 run over 5.2 IP, and the Giants cruised to an easy win.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey C- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .484.  Let's see, 2 hits with a double daily?  Buster plays about 130 games a season?  That's 260 hits and 130 doubles.  Yeah, that's about right.

Pablo Sandoval 3B- 1 for 3, HR(4), SF.  BA= .314.  No disrespect to Evan Longoria who has also had a fine spring, but I'm not sure Pabs isn't a better hitter right now.  Maybe not a better all-around player, but a better hitter?  Maybe.

Steven Duggar CF- 0 for 4.  BA= .245.  Duggar's bat is showing it might need a bit more salt down in AAA, but maybe his D is enough to keep him on the MLB club as the starting CF?  Duggar took a HR away from Kevin Joyce and made it look easy.  He got to the wall in plenty of time and made a small jump using his height to get the glove up above the wall to take it down.  The ball was clearly above the wall when it hit his glove.

Gorkys Hernandez LF- 1 for 4, SB(4).  BA= .304.  Gorkys is not giving up the fight.

Gregor Blanco RF- 1 for 3, BB, 2 SB(3).  BA= .323.  It may come down to Blanco's veteran savvy vs Duggar's ability to make hard plays look easy in CF.  Blanco is definitely not giving in.  Interesting that Gorkys, Blanco and Duggar were the 3 starting OF's today and Duggar took CF.

Nick Hundley DH- 2 for 4.  BA= .389.  I can see Buster moving to 1B against certain LHP's with Hundley doing the catching.  Likewise, I can see Belt moving to LF against certain RHP's with Pabs taking 1B.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.20.  Cueto was shimmyin' and shakin' and quick pitchin' in midseason form.  I thought his FB was much more crisp today.  On 1 K, Jon said he hit 91 MPH.  He paired that up with a killer diving changeup.  Hopefully Cueto will be the 2016 version again.  That would go a long way toward the Giants surviving Bummy's DL stint.

Josh Osich LHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. ERA= 0.00.  When the manager sends you in there to get 1 out, you better get it.  Osich did that today with a K to boot.

Derek Law RHP- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.00.  Was Law auditioning for the final bullpen slot Opening Day?  He acquitted himself well.

Pierce Johnson RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Johnson may have also been auditioning while Law's 2 IP were impressive, so were Johnson's 3 K's.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Ian Kennedy RHP, Royals- 5 IP, 5 H 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.50.  It's been awhile since Kennedy was fantasy relevant, but if he keeps up his spring performance into the season, he could be so again.

Stephen Strasburg RHP, Nationals- 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 10 K's.  ERA= 4.70.  Strasburg is an elite pitcher when he is healthy, but health is always in issue hanging around with him.

Carlos Gomez OF, Rays- 1 for 2, HR(3).  BA= .289.  Gomez is no longer a 30/40 threat, but he's still fantasy relevant as a 3'rd OF or UT player.

Mookie Betts OF, Red Sox- 2 for 2, 2 HR(3).  BA= .340.  Betts had a very good campaign last year but fell short of very high expectations.  He may be exceed those expectations this year.  My league is instituting a Keeper wrinkle where we keep 2 hitters and 2 pitchers from last year.  I am keeping Nolan Arenado and Bryce Harper.  The guy who has Betts is a Yankees fan and is keeping Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez making Betts available in the auction draft.  He'll be expensive, but I'm thinking of going after Betts no matter how high I have to go.

David Price LHP, Red Sox- 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.25.  Was this a short start to tune up before the regular season, or is Price just not stretched out yet?  This was just his 3'rd spring appearance after a late start.  He seems healthy so far.

Aaron Altherr OF, Phillies- 2 for 3.  BA= .288.  You've probably figured out I am irrationally exuberant about Altherr for some reason.  I just think is ceiling is huge if he can stay healthy and get AB's.  Big question is whether the Phillies platoon him with Nick Williams or not.

Nick Pivetta RHP, Phillies- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.93.  Deep Sleeper Alert!

Miguel Cabrera 1B, Tigers- 2 for 3, HR(3), BB.  BA= .352.  Scouting reports from the Grapefruit League say Miggy still doesn't look like he has a strong base under him, but he's on a tear at the close of spring training.

Michael Fulmer RHP, Tigers- 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.12.  Fulmer is poised for a big season.  He's also a prime trade candidate if the haul is big enough.

Steven Matz LHP, Mets- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 6.30.  I'm not sure when the bad outings. I have noted several good one.  Matz seems to be healthy, so may be worth a late round flyer.

Blogger's Note: Baseball America RIP

It looks like BA has put their entire content behind a paywall.  That is their right, and it is also my right to not pay it.  Fact is, I unsubscribed to BA a long time ago because you can get everything they publish and more for free on other sites.  Maybe that's freeloading and maybe it won't last, but hey, if you can get as good or better content for free, why pay?

I have removed BA from my list of My Favorite Sites because why refer readers there if they are just going to be blocked by a paywall anyway?

Apologize if this is an inconvenience to anyone.


Spring Training Game Wrap 3/24/2018: River Cats 6 Giants 5

Two teams labelled as the San Francisco Giants and the Sacramento River Cats played a game last night.  Actually, the the starting lineup for the Giants was mostly their projected Opening Day starting lineup although the starting pitcher was Shaun Anderson who has not pitched above A ball.  Anyway, the River Cats won and a good time was had by all.  Key Lines(Actually, there weren't really any Key Lines except for a few pitching lines):

For the Giants, 9 players had a total of 10 hits. Hunter Pence had 2. 4 of the 10 hits were doubles by Andrew McCutchen, Austin Jackson, Steven Duggar and Jonah Arenado(yes, he wore a Giants uniform even though he has not played above A ball either).

Sam Dyson RHP- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  Somewhat encouraging although the River Cats lineup is not the Dodgers.

On the River Cats side of he ledger, Orlando Calixte and Ryder Jones had 3 hits each.  Kyle Jensen and Jerry Sands hit HR's.  Jensen and Miguel Gomez had 2 hits each.  Gomez made 2 errors.

Casey Kelly RHP- 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K's.  Kelly is a deep sleeper.  Remember he was once a very highly touted pitching prospect who was once traded for Anthony Rizzo.  He's been beset by injuries in recent years but may be back to full health now.

DJ Snelton LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  If there is room for an extra pitcher in the bullpen, Snelton should get consideration.

Reyes Maronta RHP- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  Maronta seems very close to being able to hold down a MLB bullpen role.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Didi Gregorius SS, Yankees- 1 for 3, HR(4).  BA= .275.  In Didi I believe!

Drew Hutchison RHP, Phillies- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.75.  Hutch has disappointed many times, but maybe he's finally fully healthy?  Probably would not draft him, but worth a follow.

Trevor Richards RHP, Marlins- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.75.  Who is Trevor Richards?  He put up an ERA of 2.53 with 158 K's against 30 BB's in 146 IP, last year at 2 levels, A+ and AA.  It looks like he has won a spot in the Marlins rotation.  Definitely worth a follow.

Ian Happ 2B/CF, Cubs- 1 for 4, HR(7).  BA= .333.  Happ seems to have won the starting CF job for the Cubs.  His stock has taken on major helium.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Spring Training Update: Rosterbations

Overlooked in the vast Slough of Despond around the Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija injury news were some significant developments on the roster front.  Here are the key developments:

1.  Jarrett Parker has been informed that he will not make the Opening Day Roster.  A formal announcement will not be made until the waiver process is completed(I guess they are trying to sneak him through).

2.  The Giants plan to carry 13 pitchers leaving just 4 reserve position players.

3.  Brandon Belt will be the reserve LF.

4.  Andres Blanco was released.

OK, so how does this all sort out?

1. Nick Hundley and Pablo Sandoval are locks for reserve roles at Catcher and Corner IF respectively.

2.  Kelby Tomlinson and Josh Rutledge are in competition for the Middle Infield reserve role.

3.  That leaves just one reserve OF spot for Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Steven Duggar to compete over.  It seems like Blanco is the obvious pick barring further injuries.

4.  Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, Hunter Strickland and Cory Gearrin are locks for the bullpen, although I half expect to see an DL announcement regarding Melancon and/or some other reliever any minute now.   I think you can add Julian Fernandez and Josh Osich into the Lock category.  That is 7 relievers.  With Bumgarner and Samardzija on the shelf, Derek Holland at least temporarily moves into the starting rotation to join Johnny Cueto, Chris Stratton and Ty Blach.  The Giants might be able to get by with a 4 man rotation for the first 3 series, but after that will need a 5'th SP, which also leaves an 8'th reliever opening.

Here is a list of pitchers currently on the 40 man roster but not listed under #4:  Roberto Gomez RHP, Tyler Beede RHP,  Tyler Herb RHP, DJ Snelton LHP,  Steven Okert LHP,  Reyes Maronta RHP,  Derek Law RHP, Pierce Johnson RHP, Chase Johnson RHP.  The 5'th SP could come from Gomez, Beede or Herb while the 8'th reliever job could go to one of the other 6.  Pierce Johnson has SP experience in the minor leagues as does Snelton, although Snelton found much more success as a reliever last year.

SP options on the FA market are extremely limited with Scott Feldman, Jake Peavy and John Lackey(gulp) being the top options.  Wade LeBlanc, who was just released by the Yankees, was snapped up by the Mariners in less than a day.  There may be other options opening up as final roster cutdowns ripple across MLB.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Fantasy Focus: Keeping Bumgarner?

Hey team!  Madison Bumgarner's injury impacted a whole lot more than the Giants 2018 season.  I traded Mookie Betts for him last year just so I could name him as one of 2 keeper pitchers for my Savvy Vets fantasy baseball team.  Now that he is out for the better part of the first half of the season, I have 2 reasonable options:  1.  Keep him and stash him on the DL until comes back.  2. Name another keeper pitcher.  Unfortunately, my choices for #2 are less than optimal.  The second best SP on my roster is Zach Davies, who I think is very underrated, but not really Keeper material.  Closers are very valuable in my league which counts K/9 instead of K's as one of 6 pitching categories.  I have been debating between keeping Wade Davis who is now with the Rockies or Edwin Diaz, who closes for the Mariners.  I could cut Bummy loose and keep both Davis and Diaz which would allow me to concentrate on SP's in my auction draft(remember all the top SP's will be Keepers for other teams).   Between Bumgarner, Diaz and Davis, which 2 pitchers would you keep?


Around the League:

Joey Gallo 3B/1B, Rangers- 3 for 3, 2 HR(5).  BA= .269.  Gallo's 41 dingers last year just might be his floor!  He is more of an asset in OBP leagues than BA leagues.  Some analysts think he can get his BA above .250 which would make him a monster.

Aaron Altherr OF, Phillies- 2 for 4.  BA= .298.  Here's hoping the Phillies do the right thing and send Nick Williams down for more salt.  Altherr will be a big fantasy asset if he plays every day.

Aaron Nola SP, Phillies- 4 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.50.  Nola seems to be about as safe a bet as you can get in SP's.  He had 184 K's in 168 IP last year.

Dylan Bundy SP, Orioles- 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 7.20.  Bundy has been inconsistent, but still has a high ceiling.  Buck named him Opening Day starter by saying he was the best the Orioles had.  Ouch!

JA Happ SP, Blue Jays- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.05.  Happ will be the BJ's Opening Day starter.  He's the best they have.

Tyler Chatwood SP, Cubs- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.91. Chatwood won't be the Cubs Opening Day starter, but should be a solid fantasy asset now that he is away from Coors Field.

Ian Happ 2B/OF, Cubs- 1 for 2, HR(6), BB.  BA= .341.  It is becoming increasingly likely that Happ will be the full-time starter in CF for the Cubs.  If so, he is a Breakout Candidate.

Yoan Moncada 2B, White Sox- 2 for 2, SB(3).  BA= .281.  Moncada has higher value in keeper leagues than redraft leagues but he should provide double digit HR's and SB's in 2018.

Yasiel Puig OF, Dodgers- 2 for 2, HR(2).  BA= .349.  Puig has had a big spring.  Did you realize he hit 28 HR's and stole 15 bases last year?

David Dahl OF, Rockies- 2 for 2.  BA= .274.  Dahl is ticketed for AAA and seems blocked in Rockie Town, but I expect him to force the issue fairly soon although the CarGo signing complicates his situation.

Jeremy Hellickson SP,  Nationals- 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  I did not realize Helllickson signed with the Nationals.  This was his first spring appearance.  He is coming off a disastrous season with the Orioles, but maybe the change of scenery will help him recapture his 2015 goodness?

Mike Clevinger SP, Indians- 5.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.79.  Clevinger put up a 3.11 ERA with a K/9 better than 9 last year.

Yonder Alonso 1B, Indians- 2 for 3, HR(7).  BA- .396.  Judging by his spring performance, last year's breakout was for real.

Spring Training Game Wrap 2/23/2018: Royals 9 Giants 6

There were several bad developments in this game, but it's likely none of them matter except a devastating injury to Madison Bumgarner, a displaced fracture of his left 5'th metacarpal, which will require surgery and will likely sideline him for at least 2 months and possibly until the All-Star Break.  Key Lines:

Steven Duggar CF- 2 for 4, 2B, SB(3).  BA= .265.  Duggar is still pushing his case to the the starting CF out of the gate.

Madison Bumgarner LHP- 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.43.  The Giants entire offseason plan rested squarely on the notion that Bumgarner would be back as healthy and strong as ever, making a significant pitching acquisition unnecessary.  Well, that blew up in their collective face today with a line drive comebacker off the bat of Whit Merrifield that struck his left hand and fractured the 5'th metacarpal.  With the announcement that Jeff Samardzija will start the season on the DL just yesterday, the Giants suddenly have just 4 starting pitchers in camp and really nobody in minor league camp who seems ready to step in.  It was also deemed essential for the Giants to get off to a strong start to the season.  It looked like Bumgarner could start a game in each of the first 3 series due to off days.  Well, THAT ain't gonna happen!  Hate to say it Giants fans, but but this is devastating news and may well be the end of the 2018 season before it starts.  It is just extremely difficult to imagine them fielding a competitive starting rotation in the first half without Bumgarner.  And we haven't even touched on the disaster of a bullpen performance we saw today.

Tony Watson LHP- 1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 9.95.  Spring training stats don't mean anything, but they also do.  Watson finished last year strong, but his first half was not good at all.  So far we have not seen anything to inspire confidence that he will be any better early this season.

Mark Melancon RHP- 0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.79.  Lots of questions about whether Melancon's arm is 100%.  IMO, it probably is not.  He couldn't even get out of this inning as Julian Fernandez had to come in and get the final out.  I guess we don't have to worry about a scenario where Bummy hits a 2-run dinger off Kershaw on Opening Day and hands a 2-1 lead to Melancon in the 9'th anymore, but I didn't have a lot of faith in his ability to protect such a lead even before today's awful performance.

Julian Fernandez RHP- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 13.50.  Don't look at the ERA.  This kid has electric stuff and has really turned it around after getting bombed in his first couple of spring appearances.  Now more than ever, the Giants have to find a way to hang onto him longterm as this season may be already done anyway.

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/22/2019: Giants 4 Cubs 3

Chris Stratton and the Giants overcame an early lead by the Cubs to win a 9'th inning walkoff in Scottsdale.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 2 for 4.  BA= .318.  Austin Jackson led off in this one with Panik batting second.  Is that the order against LHP's?

Andrew McCutchen RF- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .342.  We haven't see a lot of power from Cutch this spring, but we'll take the .342.

Buster Posey C- 1 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .520.  Buster looks like he's ready to start the season.

Chris Stratton RHP- 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.03.  Things were not looking good after the Cubs put up a crooked number in the first inning, but Stratton settled down and pitched shutdown ball for the next 4 innings before allowing another run in the 6'th.  Nice recovery and an encouraging start for the guy who is now the #3 SP at the start of the season.

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 0.00.  Osich' scoreless streak continues.  10.1 IP, without a run allowed so far with 14 K's.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 2.25.  Encouraging appearance by Melancon who is essential for the Giants to have a successful start to the season.

Hunter Strickland RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Strick has had a quiet spring.  Only 6 App and 5.1 IP, but he's also held the opposition to 0 ER.  Could he Close if Melancon and Dyson blow up?

Jeff Samardzija RHP- Underwent an MRI which apparently showed a pectoral muscle strain.  He'll start the season on the DL which is expected to be a short stay.  This may be more about giving him time to work out the spring kinks than anything else. It also opens the door for the Giants to keep Julian Fernandez for a longer look.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Miles Mikolas SP, Cardinals- 6 IP,  4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 5.49.  Mikolas is currently the 79'th ranked pitcher on the Yahoo player list.  He's definitely a green light that late in a draft.

Miguel Cabrera 1B, Tigers- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .333.  Is Miggy poised for a comeback?

Lewis Brinson OF, Marlins- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .365.  Brinson will likely have his ups and downs but the upside is tremendous.  He should get plenty of AB's with the Marlins.

Charlie Morton SP, Astros- 3.1 IP,  11 H, 9 R, 3 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 6.92.  Here's the problem I've always had with Charlie.   He'll give you a lot of good games, but he'll also give you these which will pretty much destroy your entire pitching line for a full week in H2H leagues.

Jordan Montgomery SP- 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.43.  Montgomery will pitch the Yankees Home Opener.

Mallex Smith OF, Rays- 2 for 5, SB(3).  BA= .321.  It looks like Smith will start the bulk of games in LF for the Rays.  He's a nice later round target for SB's.  I recommend rostering up to 2 guys just for their SB's and it's a very small club.  Last year it was Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon.  Delino DeShields and Smith are cheaper plays this year while guys like Byron Buxton and Yoan Moncada are also likely to give you strong SB totals but will cost more due to their perceived upside in other categories.

Teoscar Hernandez OF, Blue Jays- 1 for 2, HR(4).  BA= .348.  Teoscar will likely start the season in the minors but I can't believe the BJ's are going to let Randall Grichuk block him for long.

Chris Iannetta C, Rockies- 2 for 3, HR(4).  BA= .318.  Iannetta won't hit .318, but he could get you almost 30 dingers as the resident starting C in Coors Field.

Nate Karns SP, Royals- 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 1.98.  Karns has had his ups and downs but will be pitching his home games in a friendly environment.

Zach Davies SP, Brewers- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.38.  Davies has run off 3 consecutive seasons with an ERA under 4.00.

Trevor Bauer SP, Indians- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.44.  Bauer runs hot and cold but can be dominant when he is on.

Seth Lugo SP, Mets- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.87.  An injury to Jason Vargas and shaky pitching by Zack Wheeler opens the door for Lugo to start the season in he Mets Rotation.

Bartolo Colon SP, Rangers- 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's. ERA= 3.00.  Is this enough to save Colon's rotation spot?

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/21/2018: Giants 14 D'Backs 0

The Giants took their "A" lineup into Talking Stick and crushed the D'Backs.  Key Lines:

Joe Panik 2B- 3 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .300.  Hope Bochy continues to resist the temptation to put whoever is playing CF and might get a few more SB's in the leadoff role and just goes with Joe.

Brandon Belt 1B- 3 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .400.  Belt needs to be one of the first 3 batters due to his great OBP.

Andrew McCutchen RF- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .314.  Cutch has had a fine spring, but this was his first dinger.

Buster Posey C- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .545.  Buster Posey does not fit the profile of .400 hitter, but dang! He is some sort of locked in and has been for over a year now.

Evan Longoria 3B- 2 for 4, SB(1).  BA= .364.  Longoria won't hit .364 in season or steal many bases.

Brandon Crawford SS- 2 for 4.  BA= .341.  Expecting big things from Crawford this year.

Pablo Sandoval DH- 2 for 4.  BA= .326.  I would actually be OK with the NL adopting the DH rule.

Dereck Rodriguez RHP- 3 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's, GO/AO= 5/0.  DRod has had a rough spring, but resurfaces to keep Shark from facing a division rival and looky here!

Josh Osich LHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Can Osich run the table and take his zero ERA through the preseason?

Sam Dyson RHP- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 12.86.  It wasn't a clean inning, but impressed that Dyson got back up after his 0.1 IP debacle the day before to pitch a scoreless inning.

Jeff Samardzija RHP- Shark took 80 pitches to get through 3.1 IP, against the Cubs minor leaguers.  No bueno!  He has one more chance to get on the right track before the season opens.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Jose Berrios RHP, Twins- 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 1.60.  Berrios had a strong second half in 2017. Poised for a breakout in 2018.

Brandon McCarthy RHP, Braves- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.42.  McCarthy has almost always pitched well when he is healthy.  It's the health part that keeps getting in the way.

Francisco Liriano LHP, Tigers- 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.80.  Liriano is not likely to help much in the WHIP category.

Yu Darvish RHP, Cubs- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.76.  Will last year's WS debacle make Darvish an undervalued player in this year's fantasy drafts?

Aaron Altherr OF, Phillies- 1 for 5, HR(3).  BA= .239.  I might be tempted draft Altherr if I was sure he would get playing time.  I guess if he is as good as I think he can be, he'll carve out his own playing time.

Paul DeJong SS/IF, Cardinals- 1 for 2, HR(4).  BA= .289.  DeJong is my backup plan at SS if I miss out on Didi.

Lance McCullers, Jr RHP, Astros- 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 0.50.  McCullers kind of broke out last year.  There might be more in the tank.

Yonder Alonso 1B- 2 for 3, HR(6).  BA= .378.  Fantasy baseball owners must think Alonso's breakout last year was a fluke.  He is currently the 36'th 1B and 142'd player overall in Yahoo drafts.  His spring performance suggests he may be a major bargain.

Mike Zunino C- 4 for 4, 3 HR(5).  BA= .389.  Zunino is enter his age 27 season.  He hit .250 with 25 dingers last year.  He is the undisputed #1 catcher for the Mariners this season.  He is the 8'th ranked catcher on Yahoo right now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/20/2018: Royals 10 Giants 1

The Giants bats didn't show up, but they didn't pitch well in a lopsided loss.  Key Lines:

Josh Rutledge SS- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .355.  Rutledge started at SS, which tells you the Giants are seriously thinking of keeping him over Kelby.  I believe Kelby has an option.

Jarrett Parker RF- 0 for 4. BA= .220.  Parker did not help his cause in this one.

Gorkys Hernandez LF/CF- 1 for 1.  BA= .297.  Hernandez did help himself.

Steven Duggar CF- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .250.  Duggar is fading down the stretch making it easy for the Giants to tell him he needs more salt.

Andrew Blanco 2B- 1 for 4.  BA= .278.  Darkhorse candidate for reserve IF role.  If it's not Kelby, Rutledge probably has the advantage.

Derek Holland LHP- 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.20.  Holland is competing for both a rotation spot and the long-relief/swingman role.  The peripherals suggest he had good stuff and good command.  He's probably more in line for the swingman role.

Sam Dyson RHP- 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 15.00.  Yikes!  You don't want to see lines like this from your primary setup guy this late in spring training!  Dyson was greeted by HR, BB, HR, 1B.   He struck out the next batter but then was pulled from the game.

Julian Fernandez RHP- 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 14.14.  The ERA doesn't look like much, but when he's been on, Fernandez has been impressive.  He put out Dyson's fire then breezed through the next inning showing he could go more than 1 inning.  Does Ty Blach have an option?


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Tyler Anderson LHP, Rockies- 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 6.32.  Again, I tend to stay far away from Rockies pitchers for obvious reasons, but pitching is so thin, a guy like Anderson is probably worth following.

David Dahl OF, Rockies- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .250.  On the other hand, Almost any Rockies hitter has a chance to be a fantasy baseball asset.  Dahl is a fave of mine, but from what I've been reading will almost certainly begin the season in AAA.

Yoan Moncada 2B, White Sox- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .255.  Moncada got off to a painfully slow start this spring but has been on a tear of late.

Lucas Giolito RHP, White Sox- 6.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 10/3.  ERA= 2.04.  Giolito is a legit post hype sleeper and breakout threat.

Cody Bellinger OF/1B, Dodgers- 0 for 1, 2 BB, SB(1).  BA= .263.  Bellinger came out of this game after fouling a ball off his leg or foot.  Probably precautionary.

Andrew Benintendi OF, Red Sox- 1 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .405.  Benintendi was very good last year.  He could be great this year.

Rafael Devers 3B, Red Sox- 2 for 2, HR(3), BB.  BA= .349.  Breakout Candidate!

David Price LHP, Red Sox- 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.00.  Price seems to be healthy.  He could be a bargain due to his injury plagued season last year.  High Risk/High Reward.

Matt Harvey RHP, Mets- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.50.  Bounceback candidate.

Derek Dietrich UT, Marlins- 3 for 4.  BA= .381.  Dietrich could be fantasy relevant with enough playing time, which he should get this year with the Marlins.

Tyler Mahle RHP, Reds- 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.75.  Sleeper Alert.  But he pitches in a bad stadium.

Scott Schebler OF, Reds- 2 for 2, SF.  BA= .543.  Schebler is my new favorite bargain OF.  He plays in a good stadium to boot.

Dinelson Lamet RHP, Padres- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.38.  Lamet is a hard thrower and can put up impressive numbers, but his arsenal may be too limited for the long haul.

Jose Pirela OF, Padres- 2 for 3.  BA= .452.  Sleeper alert!

Justin Turner 3B, Dodgers- I'm sure y'all have heard the absolutely terrible news that Justin Turner has a small fracture in his wrist from a HBP and will likely miss the first month or so of the season?  Just happens the Giants play the Dodgers a whole bunch during that time.

Dan Straily RHP, Marlins- Straily has an elbow sprain and will miss time.  He was one of my bargain pitchers.  Now he's on my do not draft list.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Training Game Wrap 3/19/2018: Indians 5 Giants 4

The Giants were never able to overcome 2 early dingers with 4 RBI's by Yonder Alonso.  Key Lines:

Brandon Belt 1B- 2 for 4.  BA= .395.  Belt has quietly had one of the more impressive springs I can recall him having, although I see he has 29 career dingers in 503 spring AB's.  Is this finally his big breakout year?

Jarrett Parker RF- 1 for 1, HR(3), Assist(Home).  BA= .243.  It's down to Parker, Gorkys and Gregor Blanco for the last 2 OF roster spots.  Any teams out there in need of a good reserve OF?

Pablo Sandoval 3B- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .308.  Pabs is a lock for reserve CI.

Brandon Crawford SS- 2 for 3.  BA= .325.  Crawford is quietly having a great spring.

Steven Duggar CF- 1 for 4.  BA= .268.  Duggar has cooled off a bit.  He survived cutdown day, but in order for the Giants to keep him, they would have to give up 2 out of Parker, Gorkys and Blanco.  I don't see that happening.  Also, the Giants are not going to keep Duggar on the bench and Austin Jackson appears to have won the starting CF job.

Gregor Blanco LF- 0 for 1, BB, SF.  BA= .333.  Blanco has all but won one of he reserve OF jobs leaving Parker and Gorkys to fight it out over the other one.

Kelby Tomlinson 2B- 1 for 1.  BA= .308.  It's down to Kelby and Josh Rutledge for the reserve MI role.  Rutledge has more power potential, but I think Kelby plays the better SS.  I'll take Kelby.

Johnny Cueto RHP- 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.79.  Cueto says no worries.  He'll be ready for the regular season.  Let's all hope so.

Tony Watson LHP- 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 6.75.  Watson had a rough first half last year.

Mark Melancon RHP- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.00.  Melancon seemed sharp in this tuneup.


It was cutdown day.  The Giants optioned OF's Mac Williamson and Austin Slater to Sacramento as well as RHP's Tyler Beede, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez.  They reassigned LHP Andrew Suarez and RHP Joan Gregorio to minor league camp along with C's Justin O'Conner, Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez, IF's Chase d'Arnaud, Orlando Calixte and Kyle Jensen plus OF Chris Shaw.

The big surprise here was how early Big Mac got cut, but the #1 priority for him is to get AB's and he wasn't going to get those by hanging around the big club longer.


Fantasy Focus:  Around the League

Jon Gray RHP, Rockies- 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 6.75.  Gray has dominant upside.  I just don't like drafting Rockies pitchers due to Coor's Field.

David Dahl OF, Rockies- 2 for 4, 2B. BA= .228.  I'm a huge David Dahl fan, but it looks like he is losing the numbers game since the Rockies re-signed CarGo.

Ryan McMahon OF/1B, Rockies- 1 for 2, HR(2), BB.  BA= .339.  McMahon might also be getting pushed out by the numbers crunch.  No fantasy value if you are not playing.

Carlos Gomez OF, Rays- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .333.  Gomez makes a nice under-the-radar pick.

Blake Snell LHP, Rays- 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 1.54.  Snell had a big second half last year.

Yoan Moncada 2B, White Sox- 2 for 4.  BA= .234.  Moncada has huge upside.  He does strike out a lot which will tend to suppress his BA.

Welington Castillo C, White Sox- 2 for 4.  BA= .296.  I picked up Castillo for awhile last year to replace an injured Salvador Perez.  He was great for my fantasy team.  He has a path to many more PA's this season.

Carson Fulmer RHP- White Sox- 4 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K's. ERA= 11.81.  Fulmer makes an interesting follow, but I would not trust him just yet.

Derek Dietrich OF/IF, Marlins- 1 for 2, HR(4).  BA= .342.  Sleeper/Breakout alert?

Ozzie Albies 2B, Braves- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .314.  Albies is looking like a monster.  Could be your last chance to draft him in a keeper league.

Steven Matz LHP, Mets- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 7.88.  Forget the spring ERA.  The important thing is Matz seems to be healthy.

Gregory Polanco OF, Pirates- 3 for 4, 2B.  BA= .389.  Bounceback alert!

Josh Bell 1B, Pirates- 1 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .237.  Bell had a strong season last year and should continue steady improvement.

Aaron Altherr OF, Phillies- 2 for 4, HR(2), BB, SB(2).  BA= .244.  Breakout alert.  The only questions in my mind for Altherr are playing time and health.  If he is in a platoon with Nick Williams, it greatly hurts his fantasy value.

Drew Hutchison RHP, Phillies- 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K's, GO/AO= 9/2.  ERA= 3.45.  I'm not ready to jump on the Hutchison bandwagon, but with good pitching in such short supply, he is a must-follow.

Alex Wood LHP, Dodgers- 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.92.  A lot of Dodger fans are still sore that Dave Roberts picked Yu Darvish to start that last WS game over Wood.

Kendall Graveman RHP, A's- 5.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 7.57.  Graveman has his games, but has never found consistency.  Follow.

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!