Monday, August 26, 2013

Reactions to Matt Harvey's injury from baseball fans

Fans across baseball are shocked about the elbow injury to baseball's golden boy Matt Harvey. Even as Yankees fan, I was upset to here about Harvey's injury. I have had the pleasure to watch him pitch on multiple occasions, and his curve is one of the best in baseball. Tommy John surgery is by no means a career ender, but it does take time to recover from.

Here are some reactions to the news across social media:

"Hoping Matt Harvey’s injury doesn’t require TJ… Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy" and "Can’t wait to hear “experts” break down Matt’s mechanics and explain why this happened. There’s no perfect way to throw a baseball guys" - @DHuddy41 (Arizona Diamondback's pitcher)

"Mets are screwed without Harvey" - @marcus_parra

"If the Mets are smart, and the injury is as serious as they are saying Harvey will be off their roster by this time next week." - @WackAMole32

"I think I might cry after hearing the news that Matt Harvey has elbow issues #mets" - @MJvsMJH

"A los #Mets siempre se le van los pitchers estrellas.. Primero Santana, ahora Harvey :(" - @SaraElizaC

"4 pitchers in MLB history have had at least 191 strikeouts & as few as 31 walks in a season. Matt Harvey. Roy Halladay. Cliff Lee. Cy Young." - @CoreySeidman

"For those wondering about such things: Matt Harvey threw 23% breaking pitches in 2012 ... 32% in 2013." - @msimonespn

"Terry Collins should be tarred and feathered for using Matt Harvey at all this season, when the Mets weren't expected to contend." - @OGTedBerg


Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Diamondbacks have a new mascot

the Luchador

Baxter the Bobcat
The Arizona Diamondbacks decided on their new mascot: the Luchador. It's not a snake, which would make well...sense, but instead a half-naked man wearing a Halloween mask and cape. I'm not completely sure if it's an upgrade over the old mascot, Baxter the Bobcat.

Fans have had mixed reactions so far. Some people think it's cheap, but many also find it a humorous alternative. It also should be more appealing to the female demographic and even possibly children.

It's definitely an unexpected change that I'm personally not a fan off, but hey, maybe the Luchador will participate in the next Diamondbacks-Dodgers brawl.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MLBPA: Players won't (likely) serve suspensions until 2014 season. Fantasy owners rejoice!

As a Ryan Braun owner, I am incredibly pleased to here that the Biogenesis players won't serve their suspensions until 2014 at the earliest. The MLB Player's Association--baseball's union--announced that because of appeals and league difficulties, it is unlikely players will serve any suspensions this season. This might make teams in keeper leagues uneasy, but for redraft formats, this is great news.

Braun, Nelson Cruz, Everth Cabrera, and even A-Rod are on many fantasy rosters, and Braun and A-Rod were in line for possible 100 game suspensions, which although unlikely, would destroy their fantasy value. In addition, if the MLB actually succeeded in suspending the Biogenesis players this year, it would remove them from fantasy rosters for the most important stretches of the season--the push for the playoffs in H2H leagues or critical points in  final few months in ROTO.

I hope fantasy owners heeded my advice not to trade Ryan Braun because his value was at an all-time low. Now is the time to celebrate even if the league hasn't officially ruled yet. For Braun owners, he had his trip to the DL anyway and now has the All-Star break to heal up. I am expecting big things out of Braun in the second half, and because Braun does not slide headfirst during steal attempts, he won't be apprehensive to steal bases. In addition, he will hopefully hit for a higher batting average and more power.

Nelson Cruz and Everth Cabrera are owned in essentially every 10 team league. Cruz is having his best hitting season in three years; he has 22 homers and a .277 batting average this season. And Everth Cabrera has been nothing short of game changing for many fantasy owners. He has a league-leading 34 stolen bases this season to go along with a good batting average of .291.

As for A-Rod, I do not own him in any leagues, but if he is healthy, he is still a decent third baseman. In a full season, he would probably hit between 20-25 homers with a .270 batting average. Not great, but certainly worthwhile for any team in need of a third baseman. If he is available on any waiver wires, it might be worth picking him up. If you have been stashing him on your DL, you might be able to get some trade value out of him.

The Biogenesis issue is a black mark on baseball, but luckily for this season, it won't affect fantasy owners.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Yoenis Cespedes wins the HR derby. Fantasy value?

Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes won the 2013 Home Run Derby, but his statistical season has been underwhelming so far. Coming off a dynamic rookie season, Cespedes was expected to do big things this year. In 2012, he hit .292 with 23 homers and 16 steals in only 129 games. This season, the power is still there along with his great potential. But overall, he has had a mediocre start. He is essentially a poor man's Pedro Alvarez at this point, which isn't BAD, but certainly not ideal.

Currently Cespedes is batting .225 with 15 homers and 5 steals. The good news is he still has decent power and he is still running fairly often (11 attempts, 6 caught stealing). However, with options on the waiver wire, Cespedes does not deserve a roster spot in many leagues after his first half performance.

As for the second half, I expect Cespedes to hit closer to his 2012 numbers. Slightly fewer homers, a higher average, and more steals--overall a more solid player. His performance in the Home Run Derby was fun to watch, but it is not a sign for a huge power explosion in the second half. I do expect this to give him a much needed confidence boost though.

If you are fed up with Cespedes, now might be the time to trade him. Assuming your league mates watched or at least caught the highlights of the Derby, they will know of Cespedes. They might be willing to buy in on the hype. The easiest trade to do if your a Cespedes owner is a pitching for hitting trade. I would target try targeting John Lackey, RA Dickey, or Jim Johnson


Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Effect of Trades on Closers

White Sox Reliever Addison Reed
This post doesn't apply to you if you have Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Mariano Rivera, or one of the other elite closers. These guys are staying on their team and will continue to post elite stats in the second half of the season. But for many owners, closers being traded can be a blessing and curse.

If you own a current closer, here are the possible scenarios:

Scenario 1: A closer is traded and retains the closing role. This means that they will continue to close games and get the much needed stats for your fantasy team. This is the best case scenario if you own a closer who is traded. Teams that are trading for relief pitchers are usually in a pennant race, giving them more closing opportunities.

Scenario 2: A closer is traded and becomes a setup or middle relief pitcher. This is by far the worst case scenario if you own this closer. You can still benefit from the WHIP and ERA of an elite reliever, but you
won't be getting saves.

Cubs Relief Kevin Gregg
If you own a setup man or elite "non closer"

Scenario 3: This player is traded and becomes a closer on the new team. If Koji Uehara gets hurt, the recently acquired Matt Thornton could get the nod as closer.

Scenario 4: The team's current closer is traded, and the setup man takes over the closing duties.

Both scenarios 3 and 4 result in more saves for you team. Now is the team to keep on eye on elite setup men.

Jonathan Papelbon, Kevin Gregg, Addison Reed, and any Brewer's reliever could potentially be traded in the next few weeks. If they fit in scenario 1, you gain value, but if it's scenario 2, you will be out of luck.
Phillies Reliever Jonathan Papelbon


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Hold onto Ryan Braun even with his thumb injury and suspension possibility

At the start of the 2013 fantasy baseball season, Ryan Braun was a consensus top 5 pick in any draft. I took him #3 overall in a cash prize league, and expected him to be my main contributor. Unfortunately, it's been a stressful year for Braun owner's like myself.

I don't know what I should be more concerned about. Braun's thumb injury that kept him out for a month and could potentially linger in the future? Or the possibility of a suspension for the Biogenesis scandal? There is no doubt that Braun still has the talent, and if healthy, he'll be a major factor in August and September.

First to address the thumb injury, he did play through it for a while and put up 'good' numbers for a fantasy player --.304 AVG, 9 HR, 36 RBI, and 30 runs in 58 games. These numbers are certainly not what Braun owners expected, but they are still solid. I was actually happy he went on the DL because it gave him time to recover somewhat. I am on track to make the playoffs in my league and would rather have a healthy Braun in September than a straddled Braun for the full season. In addition, Braun went on the bereavement list due to familial concerns, which has a minimum of three and a maximum of seven days. This should keep him out until the All Star break and then give him time to recover then as well. My point is IF Braun isn't suspended, you should expect the Braun of 2011 or 2012.

The Biogenesis issue is getting troublesome. I held onto Braun when the story first broke over a month ago that suspensions were imminent, but...they weren't. Now the MLB is stepping up and planning to suspend top players like Braun and A-Rod after the All Star break. Personally I don't think any suspensions will be served this year. The MLB may try, but their case is based around weak evidence and a paid witness. Not exactly a smoking gun. Appeals from Braun and the rest of the Biogenesis players will delay the suspensions for months and hopefully the rest of the season. At this point, Braun's value is at an all time low, and I definitely would NOT try to trade Braun right now. Everyone knows what Braun can do when he's healthy, and there is a better than average chance that he won't be suspended and will be healthy in the second half of the season.

If you do not have Braun, you may be able to take advantage of a scared owner, but many Braun owners may be reluctant to give up on him at this point.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Robinson Cano of the NY Yankees switches agents: Now represented by Jay-Z

Robinson Cano, second baseman of the New York Yankees, has fired his former agent Scott Boras and instead hired Jay-Z to represent him. In short, this is great news for Yankees fans. Now obviously Jay-Z himself will not be negotiating Cano's deal, but Jay-Z is a partner in CAA Sports. Brodie Van Wagenen will represent Cano through CAA Sports.

Cano is in the final season of a six-year $57 million contract. He has been the best second baseman in baseball with his combination of power and contact at a scarce hitting position. Cano also is an amazing defensive second baseman. Cano hit .313 with 33 homers and 94 RBI. With all the injuries in the Yankees lineup, Cano will be expected to carry the team this season. He also won the Gold Glove award for second base.

Many Yankees fans feared that Cano would bolt in the 2013 offseason through free agency. However, it now appears a contract extension may be the preferable option. Jay-Z is a major presence in the New York market and without a doubt, he will try to keep Cano with the Yankees.

Some analysts believe that Cano will demand a 10-year deal. At 30 years old, that would mean Cano would be a Yankees until retirement essentially. The Yankees will be hesitant to any deals over six years, so do not expect Cano to get over 5 to 7 years max. Alex Rodriguez who signed a 10 year $275 million contract still plagues the Yankees. With a strict luxury tax, the Yankees will want to avoid overpaying for Cano in his declining years.

Either way, the Yankees chances of re-signing Robinson Cano have at least doubled. If an extension cannot be reached in the upcoming months, the Yankees will still be the favorite in free agency.