FLIP THAT PROSPECT. YES, EVEN YASIEL PUIG
THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR…
My favorite time of Fantasy baseball season has finally arrived. Sure, draft day has its moments and, if you’re still in contention, the final stretch provides its share of merriment too, but now is that brief juncture when you can drastically enhance your squad to set you up for future reveling - for relatively little cost at that.
IT’S PROSPECT CALL UP TIME 2013!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It sucks cuz no sport has seen more "can't miss" prospects miss for a myriad of unlucky circumstances than baseball.
— प्रस्वाप धूर् (@evianwordflu) June 5, 2013
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Needed a few more to accurately express my excitement)
I’m a tweener age for the technology revolution. I didn’t grow up with my own cell phone, now every six-year-old has them. I distinctly remember gawking in awe when my brother came home with a pager in the mid-90s. It’s like he was radiating the success of an ER doctor yet blending it with the mystery of a low-rent drug dealer. 10-year-old me thought it was pretty cool. Actually, I still think it’s pretty cool, but more in a ironic way these days. From there he upgraded to the flip brick phone – one generation removed from Zack Morris’ skinnier, longer unflippable device – fortunately, he skipped the disaster that was the car phone.
By the time I entered high school a few kids had their own – those whose parents worked in telecommunications and drug dealers - but more often than not, most of us just borrowed our parents, along with the car, on weekends. And really, they were fairly useless. Texting wasn’t really a thing yet, and no one knew anyone else’s number – expect the drug dealers, of course – so there was no point of actually having one. Unless drinking and smoking behind the mall was what you were up to on Friday and Saturday nights, except the status of cool that accompanied using technology that was on the ‘cutting edge’. Although, in retrospect, it’s stunning anyone ever thought a peanut phone was a symbol of hip. Everyone just wanted to be the first to one to have it; it made them trendsetters, in their minds at least. The practicality and usefulness were irrelevant, just having it was enough. Nothing has really changed I suppose, if anything, it’s only gotten worse. With access to so much information all day long, we’re aware of the new version of everything years before its actually released. That’s how we end up with a bunch of yahoos camping out weeks for a new device that will, shockingly, still be available the next day.
And it’s not just phones. Same thing happens with prospects.
Everyone loves being first to the scene. They want the glory of proclaiming they were ones who “discovered” such and such call up, so when the season ends they can tell everyone they knew Mike Trout was going to be an unstoppable force and Bryce Harper was definitely going to live up to the hype. Problem is: Outside of Harper, every other prospect is rather mediocre when they first get called up. Obviously, none are not devoid of talent. There are usually multitudes of reasons you’ve heard their names in the first place, but the actual on-field production rarely matches that talent from the outset. Just over a year of elite production seems to have masked this, but even the mighty Trout was a waste of $10 FAAB when he got the call to the bigs in 2011 – 123 AB, .220, 5 HR, 4 SB. And he was the number one prospect in baseball. Manny Machado’s 7 HR in 2012 were nice, but the .262 average, 24 R, 26 RBI and 2 SB weren’t really the pistons driving the engine of your Fantasy team last year.
Now, it may seem like picking up prospects isn’t really my bag, baby, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Outside of streaming pitchers, flipping the little hype machines is my favorite in-season strategy. Fantasy baseball players are no different than those idiot high schoolers - myself included - that thought having a program on their computer which let you know if someone was calling your house phone - while not interrupting your dial-up connection, thus enabling you to finish that 41 minute download of “Nookie” off Napster – was literally the apex of technological advancement. They want them, and they want them now. Prospects are new and shiny; and people will give up whatever it takes to get it. Especially, currently underperforming, proven Fantasy commodities.
So glad I picked up yasiel puig in my fantasy league — Kevin lane (@klane1705) June 5, 2013
So here’s the hook: Use your waiver priority and FAAB dollars on the Yasiel Puigs, Nick Franklins, Travis d’Arnauds, Zack Wheelers, Gerrit Coles, Wil Myers, Oscar Taverases, Billy Hamiltons and Michael Wachas of the world. Because after their first mini-hot streak or one respectable start, you can replace them on your roster with the likes of:
Yoenis Cespedes – I was completely on board with this being the year the Cuban Missile Crisis reached DEFCON 1. But, mirroring real-life, after some initial excitement, things have fizzled - significantly. Hopefully, we don’t get a terrible Thirteen Days-type movie out of it; I don’t think I can handle Kevin Costner doing a Billy Beane impression. So what’s gone wrong? A bunch of little things. And I credit Cespedes consuming a bit too much of his own Kool-Aid. Don’t blame him though: Kool-Aid is delicious, refreshing and incredibly tough to come by in Cuba.
No, after mashing 23 home runs in 2012, Cespedes fancies himself a power hitter this season - at least that what the stats say. He’s developed all the traits of a guy taking dinger cuts on every swing. In the medical community, this disability is more commonly known as “Troy Glaus Syndrome”. His strikeout rate is up almost four-percent from last season, and it’s not because he’s swinging at crappy pitches. In fact, he’s taking far fewer cuts at balls out of the zone – 31.2 O-Swing% in 2013 from 36.5 O-Swing% last year. For most players, that would be a great plate approach, not for Cespedes, it actually works to his detriment. He has a Vladimir Guerrero-esque ability to mash pitches off the outer edges because of his natural raw power, and the required speed to maintain an elevated BABIP using the entire field. But he’s letting those go by as balls, waiting for a pitch on the inner half he can club into the left field seats. Resulting in one of the weirdest year-to-year stat variations you’ll ever see. In the course of one season, Cespedes’ GB/FB ratio has dropped from 1.01 to 0.58. That’s ridiculous. And this is root of his low batting average. His BABIP is down 76 points, and it’s not going to climb until he stops popping out to the left fielder.
Fortunately, if I can process information with a low-speed Internet connection and a rudimentary grasp of mathematics; The A’s are probably already working with Cespedes to make the necessary adjustments. I have faith, and when he gets it together, you’re looking at a Top 40, 5-category player.
I'd love to know where the Martin prado that every "baseball guy in the know" said was a hellava pick up is. He can't hit shit. — Chris Y (@chestertang24) June 5, 2013
Martin Prado – Prado was the preseason darling of many, myself included, but his first 50 games in Arizona have been, well, dreadful. He does appear to be emerging from his two-month slump lately, though. The power is still non-existent – zero May home runs – but that super unlucky streak he was riding seems to have run its course. Three weeks ago, Prado’s BABIP sat around .210 – regression (in a good way) was inevitable. I just didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. Today, his BABIP rests comfortably at .274, boosting his average his average over 50 points in that time, and there’s a catch! Prado’s career .313 BABIP suggests more improvement in average is looming, and with that, an increase in his run production will follow. Plus, if he’s getting on-base more he can still challenge double-digit steals.
Doug Fister, Matt Wieters, Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Reyes, BJ Upton, Jason Heyward and, yes, even David Price are all also on the table from panicky owners.
Does this notion laugh in the face of logic and statistics: Absolutely. But Fantasy players are impulsive animals. They’re primal. Letting emotions and pride affect decision-making. It’s an inherent weakness, an unquantifiable one at that. And it’s something you need be taking advantage of it if you want a reason to still be paying attention to Fantasy baseball in September. Obviously, this doesn’t apply in keeper/dynasty formats. And in deeper leagues, there’s value to be had at shallower positions. I feel I shouldn’t have to mention this, but earlier this week on Twitter someone asked me if they should trade a struggling Justin Verlander for Nate McLouth – Answer: “LOL” - so really, I’m not entirely sure what sort of drugs people are ingesting before consuming this information.
Oh, and if you want to know about the future value of these prospects for those types of leagues, don’t ask me, I’ll just be guessing; what you want to do is hit up RotoExperts prospect guru Ben Carsley, he’s the man with the answers to those inquires.
TELEVISION RULES THE NATION
If Sunday isn’t your favorite TV night, you suck at watching TV. That, or you don’t have a cable subscription/haven’t figured out how to properly use the Internet. This is nothing new, either. It’s been true for sometime. 25 years from now, the shows we’re going to point to that defined this era – the real Golden Age of Television – all air (or aired) Sunday evenings: Mad Men, The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Party Down and, even though I don’t watch it - anything that stirs up so much outrage has to qualify - Game of Thrones. These are the programs that matter. But it’s not simply limited to high-end appointment viewing, Sunday’s are also home to lesser quality, yet incredibly watchable shows like Walking Dead, Sex & the City, Battlestar Galactica, Entourage, Homeland, Shameless, Veep, True Blood, Weeds, Boardwalk Empire, Dexter, Rome, Boss, East Bound and Down, Californication, The Good Wife, and a slew I’m sure I’ve missed. And yes, I’ve purposely omitted FOX’s animation block. Since Simpsons, post season 10 doesn’t qualify under entertaining TV, although we did get a few peak King of the Hill and Futurama seasons spliced in there.
So, if you’re a part of the majority that, apparently, just leaves their TV sets on CBS at all times, making NCIS the most watched show on the airwaves - despite having never met anyone that has ever seen a second of it – it’s time to give your head a shake. And you’re picking the absolutely best time to switch; The Venture Bros made its long awaited return this Sunday – well technically Monday at Midnight, but whatever – after a three-year absence. And unsurprisingly, after the one-hour season premier, instantly reclaimed its place atop the TV comedy mountain.
OHHHHHH, MY STANZA.
HOPING FOR A LUMP OF COLE IN MY STOCKING
Cole Hamels shouldnt be allowed to celebrate... He might break a nail n give up 8 runs
— Prthegreat609 (@Prthegreat609) June 5, 2013
This week on the RotoExperts Weekend Edition – if you’re not listening, YOU’VE LOST IT, PAL – Gregg Sussman and I discussed whether we’d rather Hamels or Patrick Corbin the rest of the season. We both said Hamels. And this wasn’t an indictment of Corbin, despite a BABIP and LOB% that suggest some regression waiting in the weeds – we both would rather Hamels because he’s been the product of some rotten luck and, clearly, a bit of bad pitching. But nothing is really off from what he was doing last year. The difference between his 2012 and 2013 fastball velocity, first pitch strikes, swinging strike-percentage, line drive percentage, ground ball to fly ball rate, BABIP, home run to fly ball rate are negligible -although, batters are bunting for significantly fewer hits against him. What has changed? Well, Hamels’ control has wavered: he’s walking almost one more batter per nine innings this season, but that’s something that he has remedied over the past month.
In his first eight starts he was the unproud owner of a 3.65 BB/9; in four turns since, he’s sporting a much-improved 1.19 BB/9. So it looks like already back to being the Cole Hamels we drafted back in March. His peripherals agree as well: As terrible as the (1-9) record and 4.86 ERA look, his FIP (4.17), xFIP (3.94), SIERA (3.93) all agree that he’s pitched far superior than his actual output. Blame on a flimsy defense and unnaturally low stand rate – 67.1 LOB%.
Now, you probably don’t have to give up a stud like Corbin to acquire Hamels’ services, you could probably flip him for Puig at this point, but that’s certainly not a swap I’m turning down.
LONG WAY DOWN (One Last Thing)
have you ever regretted a decison you made in a certain situation and think of how things woulda went if you didnt mess up so bad?
— AmandaMarie (@amandamarie133) May 29, 2013
Let’s call this a life lesson, one where you need to learn from my mistakes. Last Sunday morning at, according to text history, 2:30am I found myself on the losing end of a moronic wager that required me to pierce my ears. Now, the exact details of this bet have no place appearing in a space where sane and rational people can judge me, but I will share these two takeaways:
- Never make bets between the hours of 12am and 8am.
- If you do, don’t continue to up the ante to the point where any of your body parts are in play.
Should be pretty simple.
Also, if you happen to see me on the street, I insist you openly mock me for my terrible decision-making. I’m not hard to miss, I’ll be the tragic looking one.
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