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)
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!
Back in November, there was a deal for a Southwest Airlines flight from Hartford to Orlando for $190. There were two real options coming from booking the flight. Either I was going to be lucky enough to be in the MLB Fan Cave top 50 (or 52) or I was going to be lucky enough to spend five days with my grandma. Unfortunately for grandma, she got bumped to just a Valentine’s Day visit, but she couldn’t have been more understanding.
As I sit here in a nearly empty Champion Stadium at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, I can honestly say that this was the most incredible vacation and experience I’ve ever had. I had no idea what to expect when I landed in Florida. Would I be able to get field access? (sadly, no) Would the players even come talk to me? (strangely, yes) How quickly would I have to explain the MLB Fan Cave for them to do something? (I think I have that down to a science) Would they agree to do a video of any kind? (also strangely, yes) Luckily, I had some success keeping it short and simple. Plus, the phrase “Brave in the Cave” is pretty easy to remember.
Every day I came to the ballpark, I was one of the first fans to arrive and always the last one to leave. I think the players might’ve gotten sick of seeing me. The first hour of the first day, I was able to snag video endorsements from Cristian Bethancourt, Evan Gattis, and 3rd base coach Brian Snitker. I was off and running and never looked back. I couldn’t believe how nice everyone in the organization was. The key I believe is just having confidence, the worst they can say is no, there’s no risk with a ton of reward. General Manager Frank Wren was so nice and I thought was he said was hilarious.
Staying late also proved incredibly effective. There were promotional photo shoots going on after the workouts for Jonny Venters and Eric O’ Flaherty that turned out to be fantastic for me. You can tell that these guys joke around a lot.
Wednesday was the big day. The top 30 announcement for the MLB Fan Cave would be coming down after voting ended at 5PM. I knew if I was going to anything to keep momentum up and score some late votes I’d have to hustle.
At 8:30 in the morning I spotted ESPN’s Buster Olney doing a spot on SportsCenter. I knew I had one connection with him. I attended his “Going to Bat for Vermont’s Farmers” charity event last November. Surprisingly, no one was around. I went up to him, explained that I had gone to the event and that I was in the top 52 for the MLB Fan Cave. He said that he tries to stay out of those things, but because I had gone to the charity event and was a fellow New Englander, he’d throw his support behind me. I couldn’t even believe it.
While Olney was doing his taping for SportsCenter, I spotted Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez walking alone through the ballpark. I quickly ran down and just started yelling “Fredi!”, he looked over, and I have my now patented quick Fan Cave spiel. He was happy enough to oblige, even though as he said “doing this stuff really isn’t my thing.”
Finally on Wednesday, just two hours before the deadline, Braves star pitcher came out for a promotional photo shoot. I had brought a new Braves hat to Orlando with me in hopes that Meds would break it in. He was nice enough to!
I got the video up with 90 minutes of voting time to spare and put it on Twitter. It was retweeted by the Braves, Jason Heyward, and Paul Maholm.
The Medlen video was the final piece in the puzzle that advanced me into the top 30 for the MLB Fan Cave. I yelled in the middle of an empty Champion Stadium because I was so excited and honored to make it to the next round. Well the stadium was empty except for the grounds crew, who think I’m crazy.
When the top 52 announcement came down, Braves pitcher Paul Maholm was nice enough to retweet the news without me even asking. I contacted him through Twitter and then talked to him Tuesday about pulling off a creative video. He agreed and “Paul Maholm Connects with the Mahomies” was born! It’s my favorite thing I’d done so far during this MLB Fan Cave experience. Maholm could not be a nicer individual.
There were a few players who weren’t comfortable doing a quick video, but were nice enough to sign cards for me to giveaway to fans on Twitter, including Craig Kimbrel and Mike Minor.
I did take one “off day” in Florida. The aforementioned Valentine’s Day with grandma in Daytona Beach. Even then the off day consisted of putting together a “thank you video” for Braves fans support at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. I even learned a thing or two, like Robinson wore #9, not #42 with the Montreal Royals when he played the first integrated spring training game on 3/17/1946.
The last day in Orlando, I wanted to take advantage of Tout, a newer social medium, that allows users to tape 15 seconds videos and send them out with tweets. I used it all week to get Braves fans a firsthand near live look at the goings on of Braves camp, with almost no delay on Twitter. It’s one thing to say what the players were doing, it’s even better to show them. I think Tout would be a great use in the MLB Fan Cave this season, especially to have fans on Twitter ask players questions and send them back personalized 15 second videos answering it. It would be a fantastic way to continue the growth and connection between players and fans in the MLB Fan Cave.
Which bring me back to the MLB Fan Cave. I’m so stoked to be heading to Arizona on Monday for the top 30. I’ve done everything I can for this opportunity and I hope that it shows. It’s been an honor to represent Braves Country so far and I hope to continue on for the whole MLB season in the MLB Fan Cave. Thanks again for all of your support from Braves fans, players, and management! I think they’re ready to kick me out of an empty ballpark again! Back to Connecticut for two day to repack and I’ll see you in Arizona!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)
Well we hit a bump in the road after Kyle Kendrick, Andrew Cashner, and Dan Straily evened out the greatness that had been the Mapes Fantasy Special. Naturally, the secondary picks of Francisco Liriano, Tommy Milone, Jeremy Guthrie, and Mike Minor were the ones I should have gone with. Hopefully you find yourself in the next round of the playoffs. Here’s what I like for Tuesday, September 18th.
I’m going with Mets rookie Matt Harvey making his last start of the season at home against the Phillies. The 39% owned righty was solid pitching at Philadelphia on August 29th going 6.1 IP and giving up just two earned runs. I think Harvey will want to leave a lasting impression on Mets fans as they head to the offseason. Harvey’s strikeout potential (63 in 52.1 IP) is tremendous if you’re looking for a push in that category. Plus, you’ve got to like him pitching in Citi Field where he has a 2.12 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 17 innings.
We’re double dipping today for Mapes Fantasy Special with one of our favorites Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen. Chen provided great numbers for us last week (7.1 IP, 8H, 2ER, 1BB, 7K) against the Rays. He now gets to pitch in possibly the best pitchers park in Seattle. Last time he faced the Mariners at Safeco, Chen just dropped a pitching line of 7.1 IP, 2H, 2ER, 0BB, and 9K. That exactly what we’re looking for in a Mapes Fantasy Special and what Orioles are looking for in their playoff push. Chen is owned in just 45% of Yahoo! fantasy leagues.
If You’re Desperate: Yankees veteran Andy Pettitte returns from a broken fibula after three months to take on the Blue Jays. He’s a big game pitcher, but not a risk I think I’m willing to take, Pettitte is owned in 22% of leagues. Athletics rookie A.J. Griffin (46% owned) has been an absolute stud since getting called up, but I’m not sure I’m willing to trust him on the road against the Tigers team that has the 3rd best OPS against righties in MLB. Padres Eric Stults (18% owned) has a matchup at Chase Field against the D’Backs, which is usually scary, but Stults threw 7 scoreless at Arizona just four starts ago. Braves Paul Maholm (44% owned) has been Jeckyll & Hyde lately alternating good and horrible starts. He’s due for a good start this time (if you believe that sort of thing) at the Marlins who he held to one earned over eight innings last time he faced them. Reds Homer Bailey (34% owned) has three straight starts of 2ER or less, but faces a Cubs team who he gave up nine hits and four earned runs last time he pitched in the Windy City.
If You’re Desperate Rankings: Maholm, Griffin, Stults, Pettitte, Bailey
Good luck in your fantasy leagues!
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)