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Zach’s Postseason Musings (10/2)

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.

NL Wild Card Game – Giants @ Pirates

-Edinson Volquez deserves a lot of credit for his surprisingly impressive 2014 season, but he’s still DTM. Last night’s performance proved why. A line of 5 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K doesn’t quite qualify as a disaster outing, but it goes to show that this guy simply cannot be trusted long-term. An exceptional strikeout rate used to be the main reason why he was fantasy relevant. But the K rate has steadily declined each year since 2010. Drafting him in mixed leagues next season says that you are confident he will again post an ERA in the low 3’s. As for repeating his 1.23 WHIP, good luck with that. Volquez’s walk rate remains mediocre at best, so you would be counting on another sub-8.00 hit rate. Good luck with that.

-Madison Bumgarner (four-hit shutout) is good. In fact, he’s a no doubt fantasy ace. But you probably knew that already.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

-The enigma also known as Brandon Belt had a big night, going 2-for-3 with three RBI. That said, it’s been another disappointing year for the former top prospect, who teases us with games like these only to let us down in the end. The good news is that he’s still only 26, so there’s some time left for him to get his act together. I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to target Belt in drafts next spring, but if he’s still hanging around in the last round or two of your 12-team mixed league draft, he’s a decent low risk/high reward pick.

-Brandon Crawford managed only one hit in five at-bats last night, but he made that one hit count, becoming the first shortstop in history to launch a postseason grand slam. Crawford is coming off his finest offensive season to date (.246 AVG, 10 HR, 69 RBI, 54 R, 5 SB), but that’s not saying much. From a pure production standpoint, he put together a year that was worthy of a starting MI spot in deeper mixed leagues, and he could very well post a similar line next season. But a middle infielder with a low batting average, minimal SB potential and limited upside simply doesn’t interest me.

Zach’s Postseason Musings (10/1)

Hey everyone,

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.

AL Wild Card Game – Athletics @ Royals

MLB: AL Wild Card-Oakland Athletics at Kansas City Royals

-Through his first 249 big league games, Brandon Moss hit a combined 15 homers. Over his last 376 games, he’s tallied 76 longballs. I have to admit that I was skeptical about Moss up until this season, but his two homers and five RBI last night only reinforces the belief that he’s simply a late-bloomer and a safe bet to continue producing 20-plus HR seasons as long as he continues to receive everyday at-bats. And everyday at-bats shouldn’t be a problem, as he actually had more success this year against lefties than against righties. Yeah, Moss is a batting average liability, but in this era of declining power, a guy whose floor is 20 home runs carries plenty of mixed league value. I’m not too concerned about the second half fade. He’s a very streaky hitter, so you will need to accept the ugly with the good.

-Brandon Finnegan is the real deal. After excelling following his September call-up, he looked absolutely dominant for much of Tuesday night’s relief outing. He did give up a run in his 2 1/3 innings of work, but it was a cheap run, as a walk to Josh Reddick led to a sac bunt by Jed Lowrie before Jason Frasor came in and allowed the inherited runner to score thanks to a wild pitch followed by a single. Selected by the Royals in the first round of this year’s draft, Finnegan only has one season of professional experience under his belt. But his minor league numbers, pitching as both a starter and reliever, are off the charts. It will be very interesting to see what the Royals decide to do with him next year. At this point, I can’t imagine him not making the opening day roster. He’s obviously an attractive target in long-term keeper/dynasty formats, even if he begins 2015 in the bullpen.

The Final Pitch or Ditch (Saturday-Sunday, September 27-28)

***Click HERE to listen to our season wrap up podcast. We unveil our All-Surprise, All-Disappointment and All-Fantasy teams and welcome in several special guests.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Arizona Diamondbacks

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Tanaka @ Kelly – Kelly not a bad gamble if you’re chasing wins and K’s.

W. Chen @ Happ

Colome @ Carrasco – Carrasco 2 ER or less in eight of his last nine starts with plenty of strikeouts.

Nolasco @ Lobstein – Lobstein worth considering in very deep mixed/AL-only leagues.

Duffy @ Danks

Samardzija @ Holland

Wilson @ Paxton – Hard to be confident in Wilson at this point. I’ll give Paxton a mulligan for his last start.

Liriano @ Simon

Eovaldi @ Strasburg – Matchup too tough for the inconsistent Eovaldi.

Stults @ Peavy – Peavy since joining Giants (11 starts): 2.20 ERA, 1.02 WHIP.

Harang @ Burnett – Harang: 21 IP, 3 ER, 24 K over his last three starts.

Wada @ Peralta – Still not trusting Wada.

Deduno @ Montero – Montero a bit risky but this is a favorable matchup.

Lynn @ Miley – Miley an automatic ditch at home.

Butler @ Haren

SUNDAY

Cobb @ Salazar – Salazar has been inconsistent lately but I’ll take a chance on him here.

TBD (BAL) @ Dickey – Dickey 4-0 with a 2.65 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in September.

Gibson @ Price

Pineda @ Buchholz – Not a fan of Buchholz, and that won’t change anytime soon.

Ventura @ Bassitt – Bassitt a decent lottery ticket in deeper leagues.

Gray @ Martinez

Rasmus @ King Felix

Cole @ Cueto – Cueto going for win #20!

Tropeano @ Colon – Colon has been up and down this year but you gotta like the matchup.

Alvarez @ Zimmermann

Al. Wood @ Hamels

Hendricks @ Fiers – Both have been revelations.

Erlin @ TBD (SF)

Bergman @ Greinke

Wainwright @ Collmenter – Collmenter at least 6 IP and no more than 2 ER in each of his last six starts.

Pitch or Ditch for Friday, September 26

***Click HERE to listen to our season wrap up podcast. We unveil our All-Surprise, All-Disappointment and All-Fantasy teams and welcome in several special guests.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Texas Rangers

CORY’S PICKS

Archer @ Kluber
Tillman @ Hutchison
Swarzak @ Porcello
Capuano @ Wright
Kazmir @ Tepesch – Kazmir has been shaky lately but the Rangers offense is not scary
Guthrie @ Noesi
Weaver @ Iwakuma – Iwakuma has collapsed lately
Cosart @ Fister (Gm 1)
TBD (MIA) @ Hill (Gm 2)
Big Erv @ Williams
Worley @ Leake
Peacock @ Niese – Peacock worth a shot if chasing K’s in the endgame
Jokisch @ Nelson
Wacha @ Cahill
Lyles @ R. Hernandez
Kennedy @ Vogelsong

End of Season Teams + Podcast

Zach here,

Yesterday was a busy day in 411 land as the podcast made a return, just in time for our trademark end of season awards show! Click HERE to listen, as we unveil our All-Surprise, All-Disappointment and All-Fantasy teams while welcoming in several special guests.

Just so you have it in writing, below are the complete rosters.

ALL-SURPRISE TEAM

C: Devin Mesoraco

1B: Jose Abreu

2B: Jose Altuve (Honorable Mention: Anthony Rendon)

3B: Todd Frazier

SS: Danny Santana

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins

OF: J.D. Martinez

OF: Corey Dickerson

OF: Charlie Blackmon (Honorable Mentions: Michael Brantley, Marcell Ozuna)

UT: Josh Harrison (2B/3B/OF)

SP: Corey Kluber

SP: Tanner Roark (Honorable Mentions: Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Phil Hughes, Jake Arrieta, Collin McHugh, Dallas Keuchel)

CL: Francisco Rodriguez (HM: Zach Britton)

ALL-DISAPPOINTMENT TEAM

C: Joe Mauer

1B: Chris Davis (Honorable Mention: Eric Hosmer)

2B: Jason Kipnis (Honorable Mentions: Jedd Gyorko, Aaron Hill)

MLB: New York Mets at San Diego Padres

3B: David Wright

SS: Jean Segura

OF: Ryan Braun

OF: Shin-Soo Choo

OF: Jay Bruce (Honorable Mentions: Josh Hamilton, Bryce Harper, Desmond Jennings, Michael Bourn, Coco Crisp, Jason Heyward, Alex Rios)

SP Justin Verlander

SP: Mike Minor (Honorable Mentions: Matt Cain, C.J. Wilson)

CL: Ernesto Frieri (Honorable Mentions: Jim Johnson, Grant Balfour, Jason Grilli, Sergio Romo)

ALL-FANTASY TEAM

C: Buster Posey

1B: Jose Abreu

2B: Jose Altuve

3B: Miguel Cabrera (Honorable Mention: Todd Frazier)

SS: Ian Desmond

MLB: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels

OF: Mike Trout

OF: Giancarlo Stanton

OF: Michael Brantley (Honorable Mentions: Carlos Gomez, Nelson Cruz, Jose Bautista, Andrew McCutchen)

SP: Clayton Kershaw

SP: Johnny Cueto (Honorable Mentions: King Felix, Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Adam Wainwright, Madison Bumgarner)

CL: Craig Kimbrel (Honorable Mention: Greg Holland)

FANTASY MVP: Mike Trout

Pitch or Ditch for Thursday, September 25

***Click HERE to listen to our season wrap up podcast. We unveil our All-Surprise, All-Disappointment and All-Fantasy teams and welcome in several special guests.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Miami Marlins

CORY’S PICKS

Wilhelmsen @ D. Norris

Gausman @ Kuroda

May @ Scherzer

Hellickson @ Webster – Hellickson has been pretty bad lately

Hammel @ Lewis

Shields @ Quintana

Gallardo @ Holmberg

Buchanan @ Koehler – loving Koehler at home vs. a depleted offense

Gee @ Treinen (Gm 1)

Wheeler @ G. Gonzalez (Gm 2) – Wheeler a major target for 2015

 

Volquez @ HaleVolquez is DTM, but maybe not DTyou?

Cashner @ Petit

Pitch or Ditch for Wednesday, September 24

***Click HERE to listen to our season wrap up podcast. We unveil our All-Surprise, All-Disappointment and All-Fantasy teams and welcome in several special guests.

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees

CORY’S PICKS

Norris @ Greene – outside of one meltdown, Greene has been pretty useful

Sale @ Verlander – Verlander’s still capable of a big game once in a while but can you count on that?

Nuno @ Hughes – Hughes is about to set the MLB record for K-BB in a season!

Santiago @ Lester – wow, Santiago’s resurgence was short-lived

Vargas @ Bauer – Vargas has been awesome on the road this year but awful his last two times out

Walker @ Buehrle – risk/reward call on Taijuan

Odorizzi @ Ranaudo

Feldman @ Bonilla – Feldman finishing strong

Gee @ G. Gonzalez

Locke @ Teheran

Lohse @ Corcino

Kendrick @ Hand

Lackey @ Arrieta

Flande @ Wieland

Hudson @ Kershaw – Hudson’s been awful in September

Pitch or Ditch for Tuesday, September 23

MLB: Chicago Cubs at New York Mets

CORY’S PICKS

Jimenez @ McCarthy – awesome resurgence by McCarthy with the Yankees

Ventura @ Salazar – awesome resurgence by Salazar after his recall

King Felix @ Dickey

Carroll @ Price – Price has disappointed in Detroit, but still…

Cobb @ Buchholz – Buchholz too inconsistent to trust

Oberholtzer @ Martinez

Chafin @ Gibson

LeBlanc @ Gray

Colon @ Roark

Cole @ A. Wood

Fiers @ Cueto Cueto needs a win for a shot at #20 on Sunday… expect a deep outing

Hamels @ Alvarez

Miller @ Hendricks – tough matchup but Hendricks has been a huge surprise

Bumgarner @ Greinke – great matchup with the division at stake

J. De La Rosa @ Erlin

Two-Start Pitcher Notes – Week of 9/22

Zach here,

This is it, the final edition of my two-start pitcher notes for the 2014 season. And the unique thing about next week is that among the two-start pitchers who are owned in the majority of mixed leagues, there really isn’t anyone who I’d avoid. So instead of the usual Pitches and Ditches, we’ll stick to Pitches this time. Note that all of these guys are owned in less than 65 percent of CBS leagues and I’ve ranked them in order of preference.

Derek Holland (vs. HOU, vs. OAK)

Holland is owned in only 46 percent of CBS leagues, which is simply inexcusable. All he’s done through four starts since making his long awaited return from the DL is post a 0.99 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 22-to-3 K/BB ratio in 27 1/3 innings. No, last season was no fluke, and don’t forget about the Rangers southpaw in the latter rounds of drafts next spring. There’s a good chance that he will deliver a substantial profit.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Atlanta Braves

Josh Collmenter (@MIN, vs. STL)

Very quietly, Collmenter is putting together a fine season, and he’s no longer simply a pitch at home but ditch on the road guy. Yeah, his 2.75 ERA at home is more than two full runs lower than his road ERA, but in ten starts since the All-Star break, home and road, Collmenter boasts a 3.26 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. The Cardinals lineup has significantly underperformed this year and while the Twins actually rank 5th in the AL in runs scored, their lineup isn’t exactly intimidating. Plus, Collmenter gets to face them in pitcher-friendly Target Field.

Aaron Harang (vs. PIT, @PHI)

Harang usually scares me, but he’s fresh off two consecutive dominant performances against a very good Nationals lineup (14 IP, 2 ER, 17 K). The Pirates and Phillies rank 2nd and 6th respectively in the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break, so there’s certainly risk involved here. That said, I’m going to side with the recent performance over the matchups, especially if you’re looking for some cheap strikeouts.

Jorge De La Rosa (@SD, @LAD)

Of this group, I’m the least confident in De La Rosa, mainly due to the fact that he’s been a far better pitcher at home than on the road this year. But since one of the matchups is @SD and considering that his 3.57 ERA since the All-Star break is nearly a full run lower than his first half mark, I’d give it a shot in deeper mixed leagues. In a 12-team mixed, he’s more of a last resort if you’re chasing wins and strikeouts.

Pitch or Ditch for Saturday-Monday, September 20-22

MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Francisco Giants

ZACH’S PICKS

SATURDAY

Scherzer @ Shields – Nice!

Stroman @ Capuano – Stroman inconsistent lately but Yankees offense has been terrible for most of the season.

Williams @ Pomeranz – Pomeranz an intriguing very deep mixed/AL-only option.

R. De La Rosa @ Tillman – Rubby has been awful this month (0-2, 7.43 ERA).

House @ May

Young @ Keuchel

Noesi @ Archer

Lewis @ Weaver

Hernandez @ Doubront – Doubront pitching well since trade to Cubs but this isn’t a good matchup.

Cahill @ Butler

Garza @ Volquez

Niese @ Minor – Minor should get back on track here.

Zimmermann @ Cosart – Tough matchup for Cosart but he’s reeled off seven straight quality starts.

Leake @ Wacha – Not overly confident in either but Wacha’s matchup is a lot more favorable.

Petit @ Cashner – If you’re ever going to pitch Petit, this is where you do it.

SUNDAY

Hutchison @ Tanaka – Hutchison a toss-up. Let the categories be your guide. If you’ve held onto Tanaka for this long, you might as well throw him out there.

Kelly @ M. Gonzalez – Nice matchup for the underrated Gonzalez.

Danks @ Karns

Porcello @ Guthrie

Kluber @ Milone

Iwakuma @ McHugh – This matchup could be just what the struggling Iwakuma needs.

Tepesch @ Rasmus

Burnett @ Kazmir – A.J. cannot be trusted.

Strasburg @ TBD (MIA)

deGrom @ Big Erv – Let’s just name deGrom the NL ROY right now!

Peralta @ Morton

Haren @ Turner – I’ll give Haren a mulligan for his last start since it was at Coors.

Vogelsong @ Kennedy – No reason to own Vogelsong if you don’t feel comfortable using him here.

Miley @ Bergman – Miley actually pitched well at Coors earlier this year but I’d rather not risk it.

Simon @ Lynn

MONDAY

Duffy @ Carrasco

Chen @ Pineda

Paxton @ Happ

Bassitt @ Lobstein

Tropeano @ Holland

Collmenter @ Nolasco – Collmenter in ten starts since ASB: 3.26 ERA, 0.99 WHIP.

Wilson @ Samardzija – Wilson has been a lot better lately.

Liriano @ Harang – Liriano 2 ER or less in each of his last five starts. Harang always risky but 14 IP, 2 ER, 17 K over his last two starts.

Wainwright @ T. Wood

Peavy @ Haren – Challenging matchup for Peavy but he’s a must-start these days.

Matzek @ Stults – Ideal matchup for Matzek if you’re willing to gamble.

 

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