What’s Wrong With Stephen Strasburg And Nintendo Love
Lots of fun in the Twitterverse this week. Sure, we get to what's ailing Stephen Strasburg and our weekly PAVE review for hot and cold hitters, but we start it off with randomness. Want to talk bonehead moves in DFS, Shaq falling on TV, Mario Kart and Fantasy Football? Of course you do, and we cover all of those and more this week.
@allinkid Whats the point of being able to swap guys if you cant swap out a cancelled game? Stupid.
— James Moran (@Jiggs44) May 6, 2015
Use my ignorance as a cautionary tale. I assumed since DraftKings lets you swap players out late that I didn't have to rush to swap out Rockies players if their game was cancelled. Lesson learned. Once the scheduled start time passed, the players locked even though the game was already postponed. While I think that's a dumb setup since the players weren't playing, it shouldn't have happened because I should have checked the rules. Make sure you check all of the rules on every site - even scoring (some have negative points, etc.). Don't be a knucklehead like me and lose money because you didn't know.
Nothing much to add here except that this is still hilarious… much more so than TNT's attempts to milk it for all its worth. See our friends at SportsGrid for their piece on jumping the shark.
— louie figueroa (@FigueroaLouie) May 7, 2015
If this was the only tweet in response to Joc Pederson's run, I'd dismiss it. However, there were actually several people saying, "He's only hitting .240," or "Yea, but when was his one other home run?" etc. You just can't please everyone. Instead of being amazed at Pederson's home run stretch or how good he's been overall, people want to be negative. Among the Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, Yasmany Tomas, etc. group for 2015, I said Pederson would have the best season, even if his average hurts a tad. I still hold to that, even though it will be close with Betts. Either way, you should buy low if anyone starts doubting Pederson after a cold stretch.
Sorry Marcus, this is forever saved on the interwebs for all time. You can listen to all three podcasts with Pat Mayo, as we discuss Fantasy Football rookies post-draft.
@allinkid road trip!!!
— Michael Clifford (@SlimCliffy) May 7, 2015
Hey, it's the Twitterverse and a fun week. No one said we only had to talk sports! In case you missed this news, the kid in me leapt in excitement (maybe squealed a bit too). Nintendo themed park and rides?! I'll be severely disappointed if there isn't a Mario Kart style race track with game-like go-karts where I can throw turtle shells at other racers. Oh, and if there is no Power Glove… double epic fail…
What's wrong with Stephen Strasburg? In truth, I don't think Strasburg is doing much more than going through a rough stretch, but at the same time, I continue to say he's simply not elite. For instance, Strasburg finished in the Top 16-20 range last year for starters. That was actually Strasburg's best year and finish. So why do people continue to draft him in the Top 10 for starters? Maybe it's the career-long hype carrying over or people think, "if he just puts it all together this year." I'm not sure why, but the truth is that Strasburg tops out as a Top 15 starter and not much more.
The strikeouts were more than impressive last year (242), but that's where Strasburg's true value is, and this year he's been less effective. There are a few factors behind that. Strasburg's SwStr% is awful this year at 7.0, compared to his career 10.9 mark. His F-Strike% is still good (63.3), but batters aren't swinging at his pitches outside the zone as much, and when they do, they're making contact at a career high for Strasburg of 73.2 percent. Hitters are actually making contact with Strasburg's pitches more than ever at 84.3 percent. The main problem is Strasburg's changeup. It stinks this year compared to being one of his best pitches last year. It's possible that Strasburg's decreased fastball velocity makes his changeup less effective, but whatever the reason is, the changeup is killing him. Batters are hitting .250 against it, up from his .154 career norm, and they have a .304 wOBA, 27.8 LD% and low 15.6 SwStr% (career 25.5) off it.
Strasburg is better than this, and I'd still buy low, but people should also stop assuming he'll turn into a Top 10 starter. Heck, if he doesn't figure out what's wrong with his changeup and/or makes some tweaks this year, Strasburg might not even finish in the Top 25.
PAVE Your Way to Success
Here's the section where we'll be following PAVE (Predictive AVErage) all year. Click here for the full explanation/breakdown and reasons why it can be the key to winning. (Hint: it predicts players' averages similar to how SOBB predicts the success of pitchers). Each week we will focus on significant players and outliers.
Matt Carpenter (.333/.313) - Carpenter was a bit disappointing last year, but so far, he's doing his best to make me look foolish. I ranked Carpenter low given he was only 3B eligible and with a modest drop in Runs and AVG, he just wasn't that valuable. Well, Carpenter is back over .300 and on pace for 133 Runs and 116 RBIs… both which would be career bests, and frankly, insane. Carpenter won't finish with those numbers, but with a PAVE above .300, he should come close to - if not equal - his 2013 value.
Jung-ho Kang (.333/.310) - PAVE says Kang is for real. Whether or not Kang can hit over .300 isn't much of a concern with how poorly Jordy Mercer is hitting. Kang is getting his chance for the shortstop job, and he might never give it back. The only concern with Kang is his high .389 BABIP, but his LD% is at a nice 21.1 percent, which means he can maintain an average between .270-.290 at worst.
George Springer (.192/.277) - With his trip to the DL for a concussion, now is a great time to buy low on Springer. After all, that average has some owners panicking a bit already. As seen with his PAVE, Springer is hitting much better than his average suggests with a great 25.8 LD% and unlucky .242 BABIP. Even with that luck, Springer still has four homers and 10 steals and is one of the few players who is a lock for 20/20.
Yasmany Tomas (.296/.244) - Tomas is finally getting his opportunity, but if anyone is thinking he's going to be a superstar this year, sell high now. No one projected Tomas as a near-.300 hitter, and rightfully so. That's just not in his skill set. Tomas has power and should hit HRs in the mid-teens, but that will come with a mid-.200 average, as seen with his PAVE that accounts for his low LD% of 13.6 and high BABIP of .364.
Carlos Peguero (.232/.195) - Yes, Peguero isn't even hitting well enough to have a PAVE over .200. Truthfully, he's been boosted by two small hot stretches, and yet is still only hitting .232. Peguero has an awful LD% of 10.7 and with a lucky .360 BABIP, his average could get worse. It certainly won't get better. If you are desperate for a few home runs in AL-only or super deep leagues, Peguero might have value, but don't buy in to his recent hot streak.
Main image photo credit: Scott Ableman
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