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)
It seems like the Orioles are just snatching up pitchers like those damn hungry, hungry hippos. And they aren’t doing it in the lavish fashion that a certain Southern Californian team is…
If you believe MLB.com’s Orioles beat writer Britt Ghiroli (and you should!) on Twitter, the O’s are close to inking recently-cut lefty Randy Wolf.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) August 28, 2012
This potential move comes just days after Baltimore worked out a waiver trade with the D’Backs to acquire another lefty starter in Joe Saunders. Apparently the Orioles aren’t very interested in letting their Cinderella ship sink like the Pittsburgh Pirates seem to enjoy doing.
So do you like this move? Comment below and VOTE in the poll!
All indications point to the signing being imminent, and if it does happen, it could significantly improve a struggling Orioles staff.
This willingness to make such moves shows me that the Orioles’ front office is very serious about their playoff run this season. Adding Wolf and Saunders to a top two of Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel (when he comes back from injury) may very well be the deciding factor in Baltimore’s quest at a surprising playoff berth.
We know they have the offense and the bullpen, but the rotation has been shaky all year, and especially so after Hammel went down. Wolf has a lot of years on his resumé, but the numbers aren’t especially impressive in 2012: 3-10/5.69/1.57 in 24 starts with Milwaukee.
Despite some big time struggles in Milwaukee this year – hence the reason he was available in the first place – Wolf has a reputation for being a big-game pitcher and will bring invaluable veteran leadership to a very young staff. Ghiroli also pointed out on Twitter that Wolf might be primarily used as another lefty reliever, though some starts do seem likely.
Wolf isn’t all wisdom and experience though. I really believe the southpaw has some good innings left in the tank. If it means anything to you skeptical O’s fans, Wolf has a 2.89 ERA in September since 2009. That’s got to be worth something.
Anyway, a playoff race and a new home might do Wolf good. And if he throws well in the few starts he gets, the Orioles will be even more dangerous down the stretch.
I’ll give credit to CBS’ Jon Heyman for this tidbit: This move would potentially give the Orioles five lefty starters. That’s one way to neutralize the Yankees’ lefty-heavy lineup.
The Orioles currently sit just 3.5 games back from those dreaded Yankees, and holding on to a slim Wild Card lead. It’s the first chance this team has had to make the playoffs in a LONG time. Time will tell if this move pays off!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)
Fear not, lovers of trades. The Orioles and Diamondbacks are here to feed your appetite today. News just broke on a trade that sends a reliever to Arizona and a starter to Baltimore.
Let’s break it down:
RP Matt Lindstrom
SP Joe Saunders
Yep, that’s all. No nine-figure contracts. No high-end prospects. No all-star sluggers. But let me just put it out there right now – this is still a hell of an important trade.
Both the D’Backs and Orioles are striving to make the playoffs. Both have a tough road as they will likely only have a shot in the Wild Card race, with legitimate competition in their respective leagues. As it stands now, the O’s are tied for the second Wild Card with the Oakland A’s, just percentage points behind the Tampa Bay Rays and one game ahead of the Detroit Tigers. And lest we forget about Mike Trout and his pesky Los Angeles Angels, still hanging around.
All in all, the American League looks to have five very good teams battling for two spots.
Over in the National League, the picture is just as muddled. Defending NL West champion Arizona sits 5.5 games behind the Braves, who have a slight lead on the St. Louis Cardinals, who have a slight lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have a slight lead on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Again, we are looking at five legit contenders battling for the final two NL playoff spots.
So if the D’backs want to return to the postseason and make this a regular thing, what did they have to do?
If the Orioles want to finally return to glory after years of cellar-ridden misery in the AL East, what moves could they make?
How about Joe Saunders to Baltimore, for Matt Lindstrom to Arizona? Hey! What do you know?!
The D’Backs were sitting right in the middle of the pack in team ERA and had 14 blown saves on the season. J.J. Putz is doing well at the back end, but how about another solid ‘pen arm to fortify a bullpen and hold late leads that the powerful offense has built?
Answer: Lindstrom. Every team Arizona is chasing in the Wild Card race has incredibly good pitching staffs. That needed to change in the desert, and now it has. Any time you can add a veteran bullpen arm with a sub-3.00 ERA, you did good. Especially when said arm has previous closing experience. Insurance is good, people!
Besides, they wanted to get rid of Saunders, based on the placement of the lefty starter on waivers early last week.
I won’t be coy about it. I think the Orioles made a brilliant move in acquiring Saunders. I think they won the trade if only for the immediate impact that another starting arm can add to that squad.
Because the Orioles have been playing fantastic baseball this season, and despite my high expectations of failure, have continued to chug along and contend this late into the season. The offense is there, but the one major question mark behind Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel (when healthy) has been consistent starting pitching.
I’m not saying Saunders is some kind of super star, but he eats innings (only went less than five innings in two of his starts for Arizona this year) and has had multiple double-digit win seasons between Arizona and Los Angeles (AL). He has shown flashes of brilliance at certain points in his career, and new scenery could do him well.
Sure, the AL East is terrifying for pitchers, but if he even puts together three or four quality starts in big games for the O’s, they are on their way to a Wild Card spot.
On the 2012 season, Saunders has a 4.22 ERA and a scary 1.36 WHIP. Again, he’s no superstar, but will get you quality innings on most nights. Before getting shredded by the Miami Marlins for 9 earned runs in less than four innings in his last start, Saunders’ ERA was a respectable 3.70. Before that it was as low as 3.48.
So here is how I see the trade playing out: The D’Backs added a strong bullpen arm to add some legitimacy to their relief corps. With Tyler Skaggs, Trevor Bauer, Patrick Corbin and Rookie of the Year candidate Wade Miley all performing well as starters at certain points, Saunders became expendable.
The Orioles needed a little pitching depth to go with a hefty offensive attack. They were also middle of the pack in terms of team ERA and quality starts, trailing most teams in the Wild Card chase in those categories. With Hammel back in the fold in the next couple weeks and Chen continuing to grow, the Orioles now have a more solid, albeit very anonymous top three.
If either team makes the playoffs, you can thank the respective GMs for pulling off this very minor, yet impactful waiver trade.
Who do YOU think won this trade? Vote and comment below!
– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)