Tagged: Kyuji Fujikawa

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)

Break It Down: Relief Pitcher Free Agent Pool

Moving on in the 3U3D breakdown of the 2012 free agent crop to the relievers.  You can check out the starters here.  Let’s get right into it.

The Big Catch

Rafael Soriano turned down his option with the Yankees in order to test the free agent market. How could you blame him after taking over the closer’s role for the Yankees and running with it in Mariano Rivera’s absence. He wants a place he can be the closer and can get a long-term contract. Would not be surprised if he lands on the team that knocked him from the 2012 playoffs in Detroit. I will not include Rivera on this list sure he’s a “free agent”, but you’re kidding yourself if he’s going anywhere that doesn’t start with “B” and end in “ronx” in 2013.

The “Big” Catch

I know, I know I made a fat pun, but Broxton is the only other healthy player that has been a solid closer in the past.  Unless you want to deal with the mess that is Jose Valverde.  He may not close though if he stays in Cincinnati, which he is open to doing.

The Tommy John Tier

Two pitchers that have been solid closers in the past. Two pitchers that missed all of 2012 with Tommy John surgery. I think I would be more comfortable taking a chance on Madson who is a little more advanced in his recovery. I doubt Madson will get the same amount of money that he got in the one-year deal from the Reds. If healthy though, these closers could be a steal for a team looking for one.

The Mystery Tier

We’ve seen a lot of success in Japanese closers coming over and being effective MLB relievers;  Kaz Sasaki, Koji Uehara, Hideki Okajima (at least for a little while), and Takashi Saito all come to mind.  Kyuji Fujikawa might be next in the lineage. He’s never had an ERA over 2.01 in his eight years in Japan.  If he lands on the right team in a closer role, he’ll be a trendy fantasy baseball sleeper.

Top Set-up Tier: Right-Handed Edition

The Rangers have a lot of the bullpen to rebuild if both Mike Adams and Koji Uehara take their services elsewhere.  That might be why the rumors are flying that they’re in on Fujikawa.  Adams has been one of the top set-up men for years now and should get a good contract if teams aren’t worried about his surgery for thoratic outlet syndrome. Uehara is coming off his best season and will expect more than the $4 million he made in 2012.  The same goes for Jason Grilli who found his niche finally in a set-up role in Pittsburgh with a 2.76 ERA and 1.16 WHIP the past two seasons.  He’ll get a raise over the $1.1 million he made last season.

Top Set-up Tier: Left-Handed Edition

Jeremy Affeldt is going to get paid after his perfect postseason performance for the Giants.  In my opinion, he’s been one of the most underrated relievers in the game.  Sean Burnett and J.P. Howell both picked good times to bounce back after worse 2011’s, especially in Howell’s case.  I would prefer Burnett to Howell because of the lesser injury risk, but both are good signings in the $3-5 million a year range.

What relievers would you want your team to go after this offseason?  Let us know in the comments!

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)