Zach’s Postseason Musings (10/13)
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ALDS Game 3 – Royals @ Astros
Chris Carter (3-for-3, 2B, solo HR) was a huge disappointment in 2015 coming off a 37-home run campaign in 2014, batting just .199 and losing his role as an everyday player by mid-season. There’s nothing wrong with 24 homers, but mixed league owners need more than that in order to justify absorbing the terrible batting average. At this point, Carter’s role for 2016 is very much up in the air as the Astros have a number of alternative options to fill the 1B and DH slots. I’d pass on him entirely in all mixed leagues.
Lorenzo Cain (1-for-4, solo HR) hasn’t exactly been the model of health over the course of his big league career, but he enjoyed a career year in 2015 in which he set single-season highs in games played (140), homers (16), RBI (72), runs scored (101) and batting average (.307) while matching last year’s 28 steals. Although I wouldn’t necessarily expect another 16-home run season in 2016, Cain has clearly established himself as a fine low-end OF2/high-end OF3 in 12-team mixed leagues thanks to his across the board contributions.
ALDS Game 3 – Blue Jays @ Rangers
Marco Estrada (6 1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, W) is fresh off a career-best season despite a career-low K/9 rate (6.5). The bottom line is that he has become a more complete pitcher, and the run support the Blue Jays offense has provided him certainly doesn’t hurt. Estrada, who enters free agency this winter, should serve as a quality back end of the rotation mixed league starter in 2016 regardless of which team he plays for.
By now, we know the deal with Troy Tulowitzki (2-for-3, HR, 4 RBI). When healthy, he’s the top fantasy shortstop. But when he’s injured, he creates a massive hole in fantasy lineups that were constructed with the idea that he would provide nearly a full season of elite-level production. The problem is that the 128 games he appeared in this season marked his highest games played total since 2011. The other problem is that it seems like his draft day price has never been discounted to reflect the injury risk. When choosing my starting shortstop, I’ll be looking elsewhere.
NLDS Game 3 – Cardinals @ Cubs
Michael Wacha (4 1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, L) wasn’t sharp at all on Monday as his poor September (7.88 ERA) has carried over into the postseason. But keep in mind that this is a guy who won 17 games this season while registering a 3.38 ERA and 1.21 WHIP and is still just 24 years of age. If Wacha’s sluggish finish to the season results in any sort of draft price discount in your leagues, take advantage of the opportunity.
Among the six players who hit home runs for the Cubs in this game, Starlin Castro (2-for-4, solo HR) was the most unlikely. But a closer look at the numbers reveals that Castro batted .369 with five homers, 21 RBI and 14 runs scored from the beginning of September through the end of the regular season. Still, with Javier Baez expected to open the 2016 season on the big league roster along with Addison Russell, Castro appears to be the odd man out going forward. The issue here is that he is signed through 2019 with a club option for 2020. A trade over the winter seems like a very real possibility. Assuming he gets regular playing time wherever he lands, consider Castro an adequate starting MI in 12-team mixed leagues.
NLDS Game 3 – Dodgers @ Mets
Yoenis Cespedes (3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI) is in line for a big payday this winter, and considering his .291-35-105 line this season and his enormous impact on the Mets down the stretch, it’s well deserved. But is Cespedes a true OF1 in 12-team mixed leagues for 2016? He will almost certainly be drafted as a top-12 outfielder, but I’m not so sure it’s a wise choice. 2015 was by far his best season to date and expecting a repeat seems a bit optimistic. Let’s see where he signs though. That could impact my stance.
Travis d’Arnaud (3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI) was limited to just 67 games this season due to injury but still managed to hit 12 home runs to go along with a respectable .268 batting average and a strong .340 OBP. Better luck in the health department in 2016 could result in a top-12 catcher season.
***Division Series Game 4 Musings coming tomorrow