Tagged: Brandon Belt

Fantasy Baseball Pops and Drops: Week One

Fantasy baseball is all about riding the hot hand and getting in and out on players at the right time.  Each Monday I’ll take a look at who’s been added and dropped in the most fantasy leagues in the previous week.

Week One Pops

Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks, OF: ESPN +56.2 %, CBS +42%

Parra, who’s known more for his defense, hit .400 in the first week while getting playing time with Adam Eaton on the disabled list.  He’ll have to keep up the hot hitting to keep the spot when Eaton comes back, but fantasy owners looking for a .280ish average and some speed have found their guy in Parra.

Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners, SP: ESPN +40.7%, CBS +7%

One of my favorite pitchers coming into the season had a great two-start week against the Athletics and White Sox.  He compiled a 2.57 ERA and 0.43 WHIP with 10 strikeouts in 14 innings.  Iwakuma was one of the best pitchers in the 2nd half of last year and it’s carried over to 2013.  I’m particularly fond of pitchers who don’t walk people and he fits the bill as he hasn’t walked a single batter yet.  He hasn’t been added in as many CBS leagues, because he had a higher ranking there compared to ESPN.

Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics, SS: ESPN +38.9%, CBS +37%

When Lowrie is healthy, he’s more than serviceable at shortstop and at a middle infielder spot.  He started off hot last year in Houston and is doing it again in Oakland hitting .500 with three home runs so far.  Owners looking for a fill-in for Derek Jeter have pounced on Lowrie for the time being.

John Buck, New York Mets, C: ESPN +27.1%, CBS +32%

Fantasy owners that hop on the hot catcher are all over John Buck this week as he hit .400 with two home runs for his new team.  He was owned in less than 1% of ESPN leagues coming into the season.  He has 15-20 home run potential, but expect a slump soon as he hit a dismal .192 in 300+ at-bats last year.  He has potential though for hitting .240 with 17 home runs and that’s worth a shot with slumping catchers like Jonathan Lucroy to start the year.  I wouldn’t be adding him in 10-team mixed though.

Kyuji Fujikawa, Cubs, RP: ESPN +15.2%, CBS +18%

Carlos Marmol is obviously in the drops department as he’s officially lost the Cubs closer role to the newly-signed Fujikawa.  Be weary though as the Cubs may not have enough save chances to go around.  If you didn’t pay for saves though, he’s an obvious pickup.

Predicting next weeks pops: Kelvin Herrera, Royals, RP, Paul Maholm, Braves, SP, Chris Johnson, Braves, 3B, Jim Henderson, Brewers, RP

Week One Drops

Phil Hughes, New York Yankees, SP: ESPN -34.0%

Hughes was strong enough to stay in the Yankees rotation and not miss his first start due to injury.  Unfortunately for Yankees fans, that start wasn’t very good giving up three earned runs and eight hits in just four innings.  He’s not ready and should be on the waiver wire until he proves otherwise.

Bruce Rondon, Detroit Tigers, RP: ESPN -12.4%, CBS -6%

Also on my avoid list, the rest of the Tigers bullpen.  I want no part of Rondon, Al Alburquerque, Joaquin Benoit, Phil Coke, and re-signed Jose Valverde.  I’m not that desperate for saves and I hope you aren’t either.  I’ll wait for someone to grab actual hold of the job before making a move.

  Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants, 1B: ESPN -11.3%, CBS -6%

Oh Brandon Belt, why must you tease us so?  He was spectacular during spring training, making people believe that this would be the year the former top prospect would break out.  Instead, he’s started the season 1 for 14 and missed a couple games with a stomach illness.  Fantasy owners are ready to go with other options like a hot Mark Reynolds in Cleveland and the Cardinals Matt Carpenter.

Predicting next weeks drops: The rest of anyone owning Carlos Marmol, Cubs, RP,  John Axford, Brewers, RP, Ryan Dempster, Red Sox, SP, J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays, C

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

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Break it Down: Tigers vs. Giants, World Series Edition

After 2,430 regular season games and 31 postseason games, we’ve reached the World Series. The Tigers and Giants will do battle in the Fall Classic for the first time against each other. The Tigers are making their 1st appearance in the World Series since 2006 and are looking to bring Motown their first title since 1984. The Giants took home the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2010. Side note: can’t we get the World Series trophy a better name? There has to be someone in baseball history worthy of having the World Series trophy named after them, right? That’s a discussion for another time.

Here at 3U3D, one of us each predicted half of the World Series matchup, with Angelo correctly predicting his favorite team, the Tigers, making it. While I had the Giants losing to the Yankees in the Fall Classic, I’ll take half right.

Who will win the World Series though? Our full predictions are coming on Episode 33 of the podcast that will be up before game one, but I just can’t resist giving the full breakdown on the blog!

Starting Pitching

One of my main reasons for picking the Giants to go to the World Series in the preseason was their starting pitching depth. How can they match-up with the Tigers now though, with a rested Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, and even Anibal Sanchez. The Giants have been pushed to the brink in each of their two series. This results in Barry Zito having to start game one against the defending AL MVP, that has a 0.74 ERA in 26.1 innings this postseason. Not good for San Francisco. Madison Bumgarner has been roughed up during this playoffs, but wasn’t used in the Giants NLCS comeback. Bruce Bochy’s decision to start Bumgarner, the 2010 World Series hero, or Tim Lincecum may swing the series. Matt Cain should be good to go for games 3 and 7. The depth, quality, and rest of the Detroit’s starting pitching gives them the edge here.

Wednesday Update: Here are the starting pitcher matchup that were announced. Game 1: Verlander vs. Zito Game 2: Fister vs. Bumgarner Game 3: Sanchez vs. Vogelsong Game 4: Scherzer vs. Cain I’m shocked that Bruce Bochy isn’t starting Cain in game 3. As I said on this week’s podcast, I think the theory is that Bochy wanted to have his two best pitchers face the Tigers when they are at full strength with the DH in Detroit. They believe to have figured out Bumgarner’s problems, it makes it looks a little better and Lincecum is suited for the bullpen. Anibal Sanchez is fantastic in his career against the Giants, 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP in 36.1 innings. That game 3 is going to be huge.

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Bullpen

Jose Valverde’s implosion turning into Phil Coke’s success has been a strage turn for the Detroit bullpen. Coke was great against his former team in the ALCS, but that might have just been a culmination of the Yankees completely falling apart. Joaquin Benoit is Detroit’s best reliever and Octavio Dotel has become this bullpen playofs mercenary that goes from team to team. I don’t think it’s enough to best the Giants bullpen. Sergio Romo is arguably the best relief pitcher in the game, with a devastating slider. Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez haven’t given up a run in thirteen appearances this postseason. This is one of San Francisco’s biggest strengths and I have a feeling the Tigers bullpen has one blow up in them.

Wednesday Update: Tim Lincecum will be in the bullpen for the Giants. Making this an even bigger advantage for San Francisco.

Advantage: San Francisco Giants


Catcher

Another great strength for the Giants. Buster Posey scuffled offensively in the NLCS, but called three straight great games behind the plate in the Giants comeback. Alex Avila has been terrible in postseason play hitting .127 in 63 playoff at-bats, including .227 in 2012. Gerald Laird will get at least one start. They don’t match-up with the probable NL MVP though.

Advantage: San Francisco Giants

First Base

This is the biggest plus for the Tigers. Brandon Belt has gotten better, including a home run in game seven of the NLCS, but how can he match one of the top first baseman in the game? Prince Fielder is only hitting .200 in the playoffs, but provides such a threat that it makes pitchers throw to Miguel Cabrera. If you pitch around the Triple Crown winner, it makes Fielder that much better.

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Second Base

Is there a hotter hitter coming into the World Series than NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro? Scutaro hit an insane .500 and had a record SIX multi-hit games in the NLCS. Omar Infante has been a solid pickup for the Tigers and has a hit in 7 of 9 postseason games in 2012. These have both been positions of strength for the World Series teams, but I’m going to have to ride the hotter hand.

Advantage: San Francisco Giants

Shortstop

I think Brandon Crawford is going to be solid player in the future, but I can’t see him being any more than a player the Giants hope doesn’t hurt them here. He’s been solid defensively, especially that catch off Kyle Lohse in game seven. However, I love the postseason experience of Jhonny Peralta, who’s hitting .343 in the 2012 playoffs and is a career .297 postseason hitter. It gives the Tigers another piece in the arsenal that the Giants don’t have offensively.

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Third Base

Yes I know, this is a no doubt advantage for the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera, right now, is the best hitter in the game. Pablo Sandoval, in my opinion, is the biggest key for the Giants offense. No pun intended. Sandoval is hitting .326 this postseason and .378 since game five of the NLDS. He needs to stay hot in order for the the Giants to have a chance hang around. Cabrera can put an final stamp on an epic season. Frank Robinson in 1966 was the last player to win the Triple Crown and the World Series in the same year, he was also the World Series MVP. This is the national stage that Cabrera deserves to shine.

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Outfield

I’m so glad to have a “fat” young sibling back in our lives. I’ve already started calling him “Fat Delmon” the way I called his brother “Fat Dmitri” for numerous seasons. Nicknames aside, Young has provided a spark for the Tigers lineup with a hit in 7 of his last 8 games. Speaking of sparks, no player has provided one off the field like Hunter Pence for the Giants. His pregame speeches have become must-see TV, however on the field Pence has been missing hitting .179 in the NLCS. Could his bases-clearing “triple hit” be the turning point for him at the plate? Austin Jackson and Angel Pagan seem to be mirror images of each other, but I give the edge to Jackson primarily for his defense. Which leaves the 3rd outfielder spot, Gregor Blanco in left for the Giants against the pupu platter of Andy Dirks, Quintin Berry, and Avisail Garcia. I think Berry will be used more defensively, but I can’t really see any of the three providing much here. Naturally, this means they will provide something. In the grand scheme, I can’t decide which is better. Which means it’s time for the first…

Advantage: Push

Manager

Two old-school guys with a World Series ring on their hand and now their 3rd pennant on the mantle. I can’t think of a match-up on this board that is more even. Should be great to see how these to mix and match their teams.

Advantage: Push

Final Mapes Prediction: In my matchups the Tigers take it 4-3-2. The Giants have this thing where they like to be down two games and come back. I’ll have the Tigers taking the first two on the road with Verlander and Fister. Cain rallies back in game three to beat Scherzer. The Giants then win a wild game four, where the Tigers bullpen comes into play. Tigers take game five on the arm of Verlander again setting the Giants up down 3-2 and heading back home again. They repeat what they did in the NLCS, but in a more competitive game seven, where both teams pull out every stop. It’s going to be a great match-up, but ironically it’s Melky Cabrera’s All-Star Game MVP that gives the Giants home-field advantage and the World Series. Giants in 7. Enjoy the Fall Classic, should be a great one.

Wednesday Update: I still think the Giants take it in seven as they put together nine innings from Vogelsong, Cain, and the bullpen while pulling out all the stops in the final game. They still will be down 2-0 going to Motown and Bochy ends up looking smart saving his two best pitchers for the road. Verlander takes game five and locks down the best postseason pitcher in the league award, that he probably already has anyway.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)