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Final Preseason Thoughts

The start of the regular season just days away. Most fantasy owners have already drafted their team or will be doing so this weekend. As spring training comes to a close, here are some random items of interest on those players you drafted (or passed over).

Pitchers

Mets beat writers report that Zack Wheeler is touching 99 MPH, while Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey are hitting 97 and 96 MPH respectively.

Garrett Richards is reported to have hit 99 MPH in Spring Training.

Gerrit Cole is sitting at 96 MPH this spring and says he’s healthy.

Michael Wacha‘s 2016 FIP was 3.91, which is almost exactly the same as the 3.87 that he posted in 2015  when he was a top-20 starting pitcher. He is also a SP eligible RP now, which, like a bonehead, I forgot to mention in my earlier article.

Felix Hernandez hit almost 94 MPH in the WBC and is apparently back to averaging 91.5 like he did in 2015.  Maybe I need to holster that bust pick.

Shelby Miller is reported to be consistently in the upper-90s and has been pretty good this Spring apart from a whooping by the lowly Athletics.

Clayton Kershaw this spring: 21 IP, 28 strikeouts, and five walks.

Taijuan Walker this Spring: 22.1 IP, 28 strikeouts, and two walks.  In fairness he is always great in the Spring, but it’s hard not to be optimistic.

Francisco Liriano posted a 2.92 ERA with a 25% strikeout rate over 49.1 innings with the Blue Jays. The FIP is up around 3.98 because of the home run issues, but most of those stats look a lot like vintage Liriano.

Robert Gsellman looks a lot like Jacob deGrom.  He has a similar hairdo, throws almost as hard (94ish), and was taught the same nasty, Dan Warthen slider that all his rotation mates throw.

Anibal Sanchez changed his arm slot and has pitched 10 straight scoreless innings in Spring Training.

Sonny Gray was considered a low-end ace as recently as last year.

David Price – “would be going for surgery if he was younger” is Not a quote you like to hear when it comes to a pitcher.

Matt Harvey and Tyson Ross had Thoracic Outlet surgery, which is associated with ending Chris Carpenter’s career.  Mike Foltynewicz also had the procedure and is now flirting with triple digits on the radar gun.  He’s closer to their age than Carpenter was, so maybe it just takes a little while.

Zack Wheeler is hustling to make opening day. Meanwhile, Masahiro Tanaka has been pitching at elite level for 2 years now. Maybe putting off TJ is the right move – at least some of the time.

The 2016 BABIP for Cubs pitchers: Jon Lester – .256 , Jake Arrieta – .241, John Lackey – .255, and Kyle Hendricks – .250.  I know the Cubs defense is awesome, but those are all about 40 points lower than their career numbers.  They also plan on playing Schwarber in the field if he doesn’t rip his knee up again.

Aaron Sanchez more than doubled his innings from 92 in 2015 to 192 in 2016.

Carlos Rodon is likely starting the year on the DL.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz, and Steven Wright are all going to get a chance to keep their rotation spot with David Price on the shelf to start.

Yu Darvish struck out 277 batters the one year he went over 200 IP.

Stephen Strasburg is only going to pitch from the stretch to help avoid wildness and injury.  If you extrapolate his 2016 stats for the extra 6 starts, he would’ve reached 244 Ks and 196 IP.

Dylan Bundy was once considered the best prospect for the Orioles and even made it as high as the #2 overall prospect in the MLB. We haven’t seen that guy in the majors – just something to chew on.

Cam Bedrosian is a lot frickin better than Houston Street, and what is really shocking – Mike Scioscia actually seems to realize it.

Jeanmar Gomez is the current closer for Philadelphia regardless of the presence of Joaquin Benoit and the strikeout rate of Hector Neris. Wonder how long that will last, though.

Jim Johnson inked a 2 year deal: mental note for those people who are high on the kids behind him.

Neftali Feliz gave up 10 homers in just 53.2innings.  He now calls Miller Park home, which was the #9 park for home run hitters in 2016.  He did spike his velocity back up to a 96.1 MPH average though.



Hitters

Addison Russell lowered his strikeout rate by 6% and increased both his hard hit and line drive percentage, but his BABIP still cratered from .324 to .277.

Maikel Franco‘s BABIP dropped 26 points despite the fact that his batted ball profile looks almost exactly the same.  The team around him should be better for what it’s worth.

AJ Pollock’s 2015 slash line:  .315/.368/.498 to go along with 20 bombs and 39 swipes. He could be a bargain if you got him after round three.

Ryan Braun hit 10,000 ground balls last year! Not really, but he did hit 231, which is good for a rate of almost 56%.  His fly ball percentage, on the other hand, was a mere 25%.  That is by far a career low.

Kyle Schwarber has a mere 278 career major league at-bats.

Greg Bird is slamming dingers in Spring Training even though shoulder injuries are known to sap power.

Rougned Odor hit 33 home runs compared to just 19 walks last year.

Chris Davis’ BABIP dropped 40 points despite a nearly identical batted ball profile.

A Lisfranc injury basically ended MJD’s career, and he was a workhorse running back.  So maybe four weeks is a little optimistic for the now seemingly injury prone, J.D. Martinez.

Travis Jankowski stole 30 bases despite a mere 383 plate appearances and all the Margot hype.

Billy Hamilton batted .293 with 36 steals in 174 second-half at bats.  If he can sustain even a percentage of this improvement, we may finally see that 80 steal season.

In a down season where Bryce Harper admits he played injured, he went 20-20 and earned around $30 according to the software that I use for OBP/Points leagues. Sign me up for that as a floor, especially when he seems to be spry as hell this Spring with a major league best 8 homers.

Kendrys Morales finished 5th in the AL MVP voting in 2009 before injuries derailed his career. He has now put together back-to-back fantasy relevant season in a pitcher’s park, and is now moving to the venue that turned Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, and Jose Bautista into superstars.

David Dahl might be on the verge of earning the injury prone tag.

The Indians were a top 5 offense last year without Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Brantley most of the year.

Alex Bregman started out his career with just 1 hit in his first 8 games.  He rallied to finish with a nice line, but it’s worth remembering that young hitters can struggle.

David Ortiz retired.  Just one small thing to consider despite the mostly justified hype around the Boston offense.

Maikel Franco hit 25 bombs in his age 23 season.  For his age, that’s seven more than Arenado, four more than Adrian Beltre,  and Josh Donaldson wasn’t even a pro until his age 24 season.

Keon Broxton hit the ball as hard as Nelson Cruz in 2016 with a 40% hard hit rate.

Statcast is introducing a new stat called barrels, which supports the breakout for Khris Davis and suggests a Nick Castellanos breakout for 2017.

Michael Conforto was basically last year’s version of the Andrew Benintendi pick this year.  Young guy with elite contact skills and solid defender.  Take that either way.

Ben Revere was a steals and average asset for 4 years with highs of a .319 average and 49 steals in any given season.  His BABIP plummeted 100 points, which pretty much explains the terrible season last year.  He probably won’t beat Maybin out for the job. Lucky for him Cameron Maybin is from North Carolina, but actually prefers to live on the DL.

Ketel Marte was a trendy sleeper pick last year and is playing at Chase Field, which turned Jean Segura into a 20-20 guys.

*****

These are some of the pieces of information that influenced how I’ve drafted and how I plan on trading this season.  Do with it what you will.

 

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Mike Sheehan
Comedian, Powerlifter, and most importantly a Cum Laude graduate of the fantasy baseball school of hard knocks. Double major in points and categories with a minor in roto. Happy to be doing my Postgraduate work here at the Fantasy Assembly.
Mike Sheehan

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2 comments on “Final Preseason Thoughts

  1. Ha! Love the dig at the Sciosciapath! Can’t believe that guy still has a job.

    • We spoke too soon, Chad: Bedrosian was recently informed by Angels manager Mike Scioscia that the club will be using a closer-by-committee system, at least until Huston Street’s return, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports. This is according to RotoWire.

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