We’re heading into week four! There are a lot of changes coming with players hitting the disabled list and players behind them getting some extra playing time. Here’s a recap of who were among the top added and dropped in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues during week three and what to do now.
Week Three Pops
Chris Johnson, Atlanta Braves, 1B/3B: ESPN +73.9%
My undying love of Chris Johnson pays off in week three as my “predicted pop” each of the last two weeks finally gets added in the ton of leagues, I even talked about him on this week’s podcast. I also did pretty well with “pops” Tony Cingrani, Daniel Nava, and Joaquin Benoit. If you grabbed Johnson I would use him this week on the road against the Rockies and he should get DH at-bats against the Tigers. With Freddie Freeman’s return though, Johnson will soon be back in a platoon with Juan Francisco. Sell high while he’s leading the NL in batting average!
Edward Mujica, St. Louis Cardinals, RP: ESPN +50.1%
Who’s gonna be the closer for Mike Matheny’s squad? Jason Motte seems destined for Tommy John surgery. Mitchell Boggs has been horrendous in 2013 and that might be an understatement. Trevor Rosenthal is an intriguing option, but it looks like the job for now belongs to journeyman Edward Mujica. If he can keep the job for the season I’d expect 30 saves. Grab him while you still can.
Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants, SS: ESPN +68.2%
To quote Randolph and Mortimer Duke from “Trading Places” get in there and SELL SELL SELL! I don’t think he’s remotely this good. He’s a great glove at shortstop, but a career .242 hitter and is already one home run short of the four he hit last year in 435 at-bats. There’s some growth here, but if you can get Derek Jeter’s owner to overpay for him at shortstop or middle infielder, you have to pull the trigger on a trade.
Predicting next week’s pops: Brett Anderson, Athletics, SP, Lorenzo Cain, Royals, OF, Wandy Rodriguez, Pirates, SP
Week Three Drops
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, SS: ESPN -36.3%
It’s no longer time to hold on to the Yankees captain as his ankle injury will now keep him out through the All-star break. In standard leagues that only have one DL spot, there are better players (Jose Reyes, Jered Weaver, Ryan Zimmerman) for you to be using your DL spot on. Even when he comes back I don’t think we see the player you’re expecting and there will be not as much speed. Just a batting average play at best.
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals, 3B: ESPN -33%
The Royals really have a chance to contend this year but Moustakas and teammate Eric Hosmer are going to have to pick up the pace. Moustakas is never going to hit for average, but you were hoping there would be a chance at a 25-30 home run season. Instead he hasn’t gone yard this season and has just one RBI on the year. I still slightly believe, so if he’s been dropped in your league, throw him on a watch list as May and June were his best month in 2012.
Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants, SP: ESPN -30.4%
Is there a pitcher that can have one bad start and elicit such a drop-off as Barry Zito? He gets rocked on the road by the Brewers (9 earned runs), but hasn’t given up a single run in 21 innings at AT&T Park this season with 3 wins. He’s a match-up play, but one of my favorite match-up spot starts this season, especially at home. I just wish he could drop under 50% so I can use him for #MapesFantasySpecial’s again.
Predicting next week’s drops: Adam Dunn, White Sox, 1B, Kendrys Morales, Mariners 1B, and Dan Haren, Nationals, SP
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Three Up, Three Down took in the first week of baseball and found out a few things. The Atlanta Braves are very good at baseball like activities, and that Zack Greinke isn’t as big as Carlos Quentin. We recap our thoughts on the brawl between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres and touch on the other injuries around baseball. The classic “3U3D Fantasy Special” is back and you might like what we have to say, especially if you’re already a cellar dweller in your league. Check it out and thank us when you start your climb to the top!
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We’re back for another look into the hottest pickups and stay-aways in fantasy baseball in week two. I haven’t looked at the numbers yet as I write this, but if Jarrod Parker who burned me the 1st two weeks of the season isn’t here, I’m going to be sad.
Week Two Pops
Evan Gattis, Atlanta Braves, C: ESPN +81.6%
El Oso Blanco isn’t messing around. He’s not just a great story, but he sure can hit. Gattis became just the 42nd player since 1916 to have 10 RBI’s in their first nine career games. He has four home runs and is playing everyday between catcher and first base with Freddie Freeman on the DL. Things will become iffy for Gattis’ playing time when Freeman and Brian McCann come back, but for now, the clean-up hitter on one of the better lineups is a must-own at catcher. I’ll also give some love to last weeks pop John Buck who was added in another 70% of ESPN leagues this week. Buck has been amazing for the Mets offense.
Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves, SP: ESPN +52%
One of my predicted pops from last week, Maholm hasn’t given up a run yet this season. Since that’s not going to continue, I hope you snagged him and can sell high to help you elsewhere, go right ahead.
Jim Henderson, Milwaukee Brewers, RP: ESPN +81.3%, CBS +27%
John Axford is out of the closer’s role for now. If you didn’t pay for saves, snap up Henderson if he’s still out there. It’s better than trying to catch fire with the Cubs bullpen that is without Kyuji Fujikawa and won’t give the job back to Carlos Marmol. If I had to own on Cubs reliever, it’d be James Russell. Same goes for the Tigers bullpen, but at least they have a pitcher the manager says will get the 9th inning work in Joaquin Benoit.
Chris Carter, Houston Astros, 1B: ESPN +30.3%, CBS +28%
Don’t be afraid of the words “Houston Astros”, their players can help your fantasy team too. Carter has pop (four home runs in 2013, 16 in 2012 in just 218 at-bats) if you’re looking for power, Carter can help you at a corner infielder or utility spot. He’s still available in a lot of leagues.
Predicting next week’s pops: Tommy Milone, Athletics, SP, Joaquin Benoit, Tigers, RP, Daniel Nava, Red Sox, OF, Tony Cingrani, Reds, SP, Emilio Bonifacio, Blue Jays, OF, and yes I still like Chris Johnson, Braves 3B/1B
Week Two Drops
Jarrod Parker, Oakland Athletics, SP: ESPN -45.4% CBS -20%
Man, has Parker been frustrating. He was supposed to have a two-start week in week one that got changed into one start. He then proceeds to get rocked in his actual two-start week against the Angels and the Tigers. He’s gone from a must-start to spot-starter in two weeks.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Boston Red Sox, OF: ESPN -43.9%, CBS -17%
One of the best players in spring training hasn’t carried it over to the regular season. Bradley could be on the verge of a ticket back to the minors for some more seasoning. His defense might be what saves him from that fate, but defense doesn’t count in fantasy baseball.
Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers, C: ESPN -40.9%
Jesus Montero, Seattle Mariners, C: ESPN -40.5%, CBS -10%
For Gattis and Buck to be added in the amount of leagues they have, someone needs to take the fall and it’s Lucroy and Montero for now. I would definitely throw them on to a watch list and at the sign of them heating up, pick them back up. The walk-off home run for Lucroy on Sunday against the Cardinals, could be that turning point.
Predicting next week’s drops: Franklin Gutirrez, Mariners, OF, Ben Revere, Phillies, OF, J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays, C
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
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)
I figured it’s time to bring it over to the blog: The Mapes Fantasy Special. It’s for fantasy baseball players in daily leagues that are looking for a starting pitcher to pick up that is widely available. The standard for me is the pitcher must be available in at least 50% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues. It all started with Orioles “ace” Jason Hammel (49% owned) picking up a quality start against the Twins with 6 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, and getting a win. Nothing too great, but you’ll take the WHIP and a win any day.
And then good things started to happen.
— Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) April 3, 2013
Milone’s line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, Win
He settled down after giving up two early runs and was great. I love Milone and a lot of the Athletics when they pitch at home.
— Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) April 4, 2013
Guthrie’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, Win
This was my pick of the week; he was available in 99% of leagues! Guthrie has since been bumped up to 13% owned in Yahoo! leagues, but his dominance over the White Sox continues. He’s going to be a future pick I’m sure, especially when facing Chicago.
— Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) April 5, 2013
Straily’s line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 11 K, Win
I like Straily and his make-up. It’s why he was my American League Rookie of the Year pick. He sadly got sent down to the minors after this start due to Oakland’s current six-man rotation, but man, was he fantastic blowing away Astros hitters. I’m in the court of starting any pretty good pitcher against Houston this year.
— Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) April 5, 2013
Colon’s line: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, Win
Do I feel bad picking on Astros again? Yep. Do I feel good picking a 97% available pitcher for a win and quality start? Yep.
This is where I started realizing things are going quite well, but there weren’t a lot of options for Sunday and went with a guy who was facing off against the American League Cy Young winner.
— Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) April 7, 2013
Masterson’s line: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, Win
Sometimes the Rays offense is non-existent and Sunday was one of those days. Masterson was the best pitching surprise of week one, going 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and 13 K in 13 IP. Even more impressive, he picked up wins while squaring off against each of last year’s Cy Young winners.
For Monday, I’m going with a pitcher I feel won’t be under the 50% threshold for much longer in Paul Maholm. The Marlins offense is pretty weak and Marlins Park is a pitcher’s park.
— Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) April 7, 2013
The final lines on Mapes Fantasy Special for the week. 38.2 IP, 27 H, 11 ER, 6 BB, 36 K, 6-0 W-L, 6 Quality starts, with 2.56 ERA, 0.85 WHIP. Not bad at all for guys available in at least half of leagues. Hopefully I can keep it going for all of 2013.
Follow me on Twitter for a daily Mapes Fantasy Special to (hopefully) help out your teams!
Wei-Yin Chen gave us his 2nd consecutive successful #MapesFantasySpecial last night, despite not getting a win. Mets Matt Harvey had his start pushed back due to rain, so we’ll see how that plays out tonight. I’m not sure he can get a win against Cole Hamels, but hopefully the peripherals and strikeouts will be there. Here’s what I like for Thursday, September 20th that’s available in more than half of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie was featured on this week’s podcast as a 3UP player and I really like him at home against the White Sox. Guthrie shut down the White Sox just a week and a half ago, tossing eight shutout innings. Even more impressive, Guthrie has had three starts against the White Sox since coming to Kansas City, would you like to guess how many runs he’s given up in 23.2 innings? That’s right, zero! I’ll trust him one more time to get solid numbers, he’s owned in just 15% of fantasy leagues.
If You’re Desperate: Cardinals Jaime Garcia (49% owned) takes on the Astros in a solid matchup, but has been so terribly up and down since returning from injury he might no be worth the chance. Brewers rookie Michael Fiers (45% owned) had 10 strikeouts, last time he faced the Pirates, but has a 5.40 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh this year. A’s Tommy Milone (44% owned) hasn’t been good on the road this season and takes on Detroit at Comerica. No thanks. Nationals Ross Detwiler (35% owned) has been good this season and could help your WHIP, but don’t expect a ton of strikeouts. If you need strikeouts and can afford the ERA/WHIP hit, Francisco Liriano (35% owned) could get you some strikeouts, but got lit up last time out against KC. Lastly, Giants Barry Zito (21% owned) got beat up by Colorado last time at home, 4ER over 5.1 IP, but is 6-2 in his career with a 2.59 ERA and 1.09 WHIP against the Rockies. The Rockies do have trouble scoring runs on the road, except against Andrew Cashner of course.
If You’re Desperate Rankings: Fiers, Zito, Detwiler, Garcia, Liriano, Milone
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
The choices for the #MapesFantasySpecial are pretty slim on Wednesday, but I think there are a couple options that could help your fantasy team.
We featured his Brewers teammate Wily Peralta on this week’s podcast, but Marco Estrada has been just as great as Milwaukee has made a push for the playoffs. Estrada has given up just 1ER or less in four of his last five starts, with three of them giving up no earned runs at all. Estrada takes on a Pirates squad that he gave up just one earned run in seven innings with 10 strikeouts just three starts ago. If he puts up even slightly worse numbers, it’s a worthy pick-up that’s available in 73% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
If You’re Desperate: Rays rookie Chris Archer has great strikeout potential (28K in 22.1IP) if you need a boost there. If you’re worried about the match-up against Boston, in Archer’s last start he shut down Texas over 7 innings with 11 strikeouts. Archer is owned in just 5% of leagues. Reds Mike Leake (10% owned) has good numbers in his career against the Cubs, but gave up 3ER in six innings last time he pitched at Wrigley. Orioles Joe Saunders (12% owned) has a juicy match-up at the Mariners and has settled down since getting roughed up in his first start with Baltimore. Unfortunately, he’s going up against King Felix, so don’t go in expecting a win. John Lannan (4% owned) was great in his 1st start back in place of Stephen Strasburg tossing 5.2 shutout innings. The Dodgers lineup still hasn’t been great and Lannan is 4-1 in his career against Los Angeles. Don’t expect to get many strikeouts though.
If You’re Desperate Rankings: Archer, Saunders, Leake, Lannan
Good luck in your fantasy leagues!
9/18 4 PM Update: Mets pitcher Matt Harvey was scratched from his start Tuesday night and will start Wednesday 9/19 instead. I like him more than any of these.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)