Zach’s Postseason Musings (10/6)
Throughout the postseason, I’ll be sharing my fantasy-angled thoughts on a variety of noteworthy players from each game with the goal of helping you get a jump start on your 2015 draft prep! So keep checking back here every weekday for new posts.
NLDS Game 1 – Giants @ Nationals
-Moving back to the NL seems to have done the trick for Jake Peavy (5 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K), who went 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in 20 starts for the Red Sox this year before posting a 6-4 record, 2.17 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 12 regular season starts for the Giants. Peavy has a $15 million player option for 2015, which he will likely exercise, that is unless he thinks he can secure a multi-year deal for a slightly lower annual rate. But no matter what he decides regarding the contract, staying in the Senior Circuit is probably a good idea.
NLDS Game 1 – Cardinals @ Dodgers
-What was the difference between Matt Carpenter’s 2013 and 2014 seasons? Three homers, 19 RBI, 27 runs and 46 points in batting average. Carpenter was a one-category player this year, and 99 runs isn’t enough of a reason to once again draft him in the early rounds. And the 2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI performance here isn’t going to change my mind. Also note that he’s no longer eligible at multiple positions, and a third baseman who isn’t even a lock for double-digit homers simply doesn’t cut it in fantasy. Stay away.
-Some pitcher’s duel! Don’t worry about Clayton Kershaw or Adam Wainwright. Both will be fine.
ALDS Game 2 – Tigers @ Orioles
–Nick Markakis (1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) is more valuable in real baseball than fantasy baseball, as he doesn’t excel in any one area. But he rarely disappoints and rarely misses games. I wouldn’t get too excited about owning him, but if he’s still available in the last few rounds of your 12-team mixed league draft, he’s a pretty safe pick as a fifth outfielder, especially in OBP leagues.
-After closing out the regular season in dominant fashion (2.87 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 29 K in 31 1/3 IP), Kevin Gausman (3 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) looked good in his relief outing. The former top prospect is a prime 2015 breakout candidate as he enters his age-24 season.
ALDS Game 2 – Royals @ Angels
–Eric Hosmer (3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) has yet to live up to expectations, but he was a much more consistent producer in the second half and only turns 25 later this month. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a power boost in 2015, perhaps up to the 25-home run level. Drafting him in the mid-rounds next spring to fill your CI slot is a low risk/high reward gamble.
NLDS Game 2 – Giants @ Nationals
-The obvious MVP of the longest (at least in terms of time) postseason game in history was Brandon Belt, who hit the go-ahead and eventual game-winning homer in the top of the 18th. The not so obvious but even more important MVP was the guy who earned the victory, Yusmeiro Petit (6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K). The 29-year-old righty is coming off a career-best season in which he registered a 3.69 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 in 117 innings split between the starting rotation and the bullpen. What I like most about Petit is his low walk rate (2.5 career BB/9), and I truly believe that he can have a great deal of success as a full-time starter. Ryan Vogelsong will become a free agent this winter, so don’t be surprised if the Giants give Petit an opportunity to start in 2015. In that case, Yusmeiro would make for an appealing bargain basement option in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.
NLDS Game 2 – Cardinals @ Dodgers
-Although Matt Kemp (2-for-4, HR, RBI) is no longer a threat to annually steal 30-plus bases, 2014 was a huge step in the right direction. He played in 150 games, this after averaging only 90 games per year from 2012-2013, while batting .287 with 25 homers and 89 RBI. Kemp was selected at 2.10 in a 12-team mixed league industry mock that I am participating in, and chances are he will be around well into the third round and maybe even the fourth round in many 2015 drafts. I won’t be reaching for him, but there will be a point (perhaps if he lasts past the top-40) where the temptation will win out over my usually conservative approach.
ALDS Game 3 – Orioles @ Tigers
–Bud Norris (6 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K) has very quietly put together a fine season. But the strange thing about Bud is that his main appeal from a fantasy standpoint used to be his high strikeout rate. Since the beginning of last season, however, his strikeouts have plummeted, and he finished this year sporting a pedestrian 7.6 K/9. The good news though is that his career-low 2.8 BB/9 contributed heavily towards his career-high 2.67 K/BB. If Norris can raise his strikeout rate even to the 8.0 K/9 level while maintaining his improved control, he could deliver a nice profit in 2015 for those in very deep mixed/AL-only leagues. There are still enough doubters out there to keep his draft day price low.
ALDS Game 3 – Angels @ Royals
-Kansas City’s pair of homegrown corner infielders, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, continued to rake in this game, each picking up their second home run of the postseason. As I’ve mentioned previously, don’t forget about either of these guys next spring. Hosmer could finally be ready to break out while Moustakas is a post-hype sleeper.
-What happened to C.J. Wilson, not only in this game (2/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) but this season? I drafted Wilson in multiple leagues this year, considering him a lock for 170 strikeouts and a sub-4.00 ERA. But as we are reminded time and time again, starting pitchers are never locks for anything. What can we expect from Wilson in 2015? Well, things can’t get much worse. The veteran southpaw continues to be extremely durable (at least 31 starts in each of his five seasons as a full-time starter) and remains an above average contributor in the strikeouts category. I’ll gladly take another chance on him at the severely reduced price.