Zach’s Postseason Musings (10/14)
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ALDS Game 4 – Blue Jays @ Rangers
Kevin Pillar (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI), who went undrafted in the vast majority of mixed leagues this year, quietly turned in a solid 2015 campaign, proving to be a reliable source of steals and runs while chipping in 12 homers. I think there’s still room for improvement being that this was only his first full season in the big leagues, and I would not hesitate to draft Pillar in the late rounds in mixed leagues as a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Derek Holland (2 IP, 5 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 3 HR allowed, L) really struggled in September (6.60 ERA,1.63 WHIP) after pitching well upon his long-awaited return from injury, and his struggles have continued into the postseason. Holland was one of my favorite cheap SP targets for 2015 and I refuse to give up on him. Inconsistency should have been expected coming off a four and a half month absence, and I’m expecting better overall results in 2016. Remember that this is a guy who posted a 3.42 ERA to go along with 189 strikeouts back in 2013. There’s some injury risk here, but there’s not a lot of downside in grabbing him in the final round or two of your mixed league draft.
ALDS Game 4 – Royals @ Astros
Eric Hosmer (2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI) enjoyed a career-best season in 2015 and it’s hard to believe that he will be only 26 on Opening Day 2016. It seems like he’s been around for awhile. There’s no denying that Hosmer carries plenty of fantasy value, but the problem I have with him is that I need more power from my starting first baseman, and Hosmer has yet to hit more than 19 home runs in a season. Sure, if he can duplicate the .297-18-93-98-7 line he posted this year, he will be worthy of mixed league starting 1B status. But the lack of homers allows little margin for decline in the batting average, RBI and Runs departments.
Carlos Correa (4-for-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI) is already a fantasy stud. The only question is how early he will be taken in 2016 drafts. I’m thinking top-25, even in non-keeper formats. And that’s being conservative.
NLDS Game 4 – Cardinals @ Cubs
Javier Baez (2-for-3, HR, 3 RBI) batted .328 with 13 home runs, 62 RBI, 52 runs scored and 18 steals in 74 minor league games this season and performed fairly well in his 28 games with the Cubs. He still strikes out a bit too much but is making some improvement in that area. Baez doesn’t really have anything left to prove in the Minors, so my guess is that he will open next season with the big league club. It will be interesting to see how the Cubs solve their three-man 2B/SS logjam. Trading Starlin Castro seems like the most likely move.
After pitching to a 2.86 ERA prior to the All-Star break, Jason Hammel (3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) faded badly in the second half, registering a 5.10 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. But despite the poor second half and disappointing performance here, Hammel remains a serviceable SP5/SP6 in mixed leagues.
NLDS Game 4 – Dodgers @ Mets
Justin Turner (1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) turned out to be a nice early-season waiver wire find as he went on to enjoy a career year. Unfortunately for his fantasy value, however, he will only be eligible at first base and third base in most leagues next season after starting only five games at second base in 2015. Even if we assume that Turner’s power surge is for real, there’s nothing too special about a first baseman or third baseman who can hit 16 home runs, even if he bats close to .300 again. Looking ahead to 2016, he’s not someone to target in mixed leagues.
One bad inning was all it took for Steven Matz (5 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, L) to lose his matchup with Clayton Kershaw last night. Despite the small big league sample size of seven starts, there’s already a lot to like about the 24-year-old lefty, who went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in six regular season outings. Even in non-keeper mixed leagues, fantasy owners should feel good about drafting Matz as their fourth or fifth starter next spring.