Scott Pianowski

  • Closing Time: Rusney Castillo can't be far away

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 day ago

    Sometimes the dots line up perfectly and you can sense a change is imminent. That appears to be the case with the Red Sox and their lousy right-field situation. Don’t be tripped up by the organizational quotes from recent days; teams have zero incentive to tell us the truth. The high-priced Boston offense is struggling, and the Red Sox may have reached the tipping point.

    Rusney Castillo isn’t in Boston as we go to press, but it probably won't be long before the $72 million man gets a chance to show what he can do. And this is a fantasy story worth investing in. 

    The Red Sox offense has a bunch of problems at the moment; we don’t have the time to list all of them. But two of the biggest issues are a lack of offense from right field, and a lack of production against left-handed starters.

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    • The Arizona bullpen could get complicated again, as all of a sudden everyone is pitching well.

  • Closing Time: Enrique Burgos, Arizona firecracker

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    Brad Ziegler has been the best reliever in the Arizona bullpen this year, and it’s not particularly close. The submariner has a 1.04 ERA, a 0.87 WHIP, and a tiny .169 batting-average against. If you need a ground-ball, Ziggy plays guitar

    Does that make him a saves candidate? Not necessarily. 

    Ziegler pitched two scoreless innings, the 10th and 11th, in Monday’s extra-inning victory at Miami, which earned him the night off Tuesday. And with that, we have a new entry into the Arizona save chase. Enrique Burgos grabbed a Monday save in the 13th inning, then came back with a more conventional ninth-inning save Tuesday. 

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    Ziegler is owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues, while Burgos has chased up to seven percent. And 51 percent of the Yahooligans are still holding out hope with Reed. 

  • Daily Dime: Welcome home, David Ortiz and James Shields

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago

    Check the weather, analyze the lineups, join a daily contest. Repeat until rich. 

    Let's look at the Tuesday slate.

    Players to Buy

    David Ortiz, 1B, vs. TEX (Gallardo), $2900 on Fan Duel: Think he missed the friendly confines of Fenway Park? Ortiz has a .333/.410/.490 slash in front of the Lansdowne Street vendors, but it drops to .171/.259/.342 on the road. Get that man some Dirty Water, not to mention a few hit-me fastballs from Yo Gabba Gabba. 

    And if you’re going to consider Pablo Sandoval, it’s when the Red Sox are facing a right-handed opponent. The third-sacker is crushing at Fenway (.849 OPS) and against northpaws (1.024) this year, but it’s a Sad Panda story against lefties (2-for-41, and under .200 last year). Tuesday is a Sandoval Night. 

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    Players to Fade 

  • Closing Time: Buying low on Rockies; appreciating Curtis Granderson and Brandon Crawford

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago

    Playoff baseball is unlikely to visit Colorado this year. There’s no need to print a bunch of Rocktober shirts. Colorado dropped another ballgame on Monday, a 4-3 decision to Philadelphia, and is now 13-22 on the season. That’s the worst record in the National League, and 10 games behind the front-running Dodgers. 

    There’s plenty of blame to go around for Colorado’s lousy start. The offense ranks 28th in runs, the pitching staff sits 30th in ERA, the fielders sit 24th in defensive WAR (for whatever that means to you). If you see these guys at the ballpark, spread the boos equally. 

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    Alas, there is one reason for optimism here. Because of a quirky early-season schedule and some wonky weather, the Rockies have only played 14 home games through their open 35 matches. That’s the lowest ratio in the NL, by far. By comparison, every other NL West club has played 20 or more home games. 

    Start your engines, Colorado. Gravity always wins.

  • Daily Dime: All my lefties hit in Texas

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 5 days ago

    Ah, the full-slate Sunday, a joy to behold. Just make sure funky lineups and spotty weather aren't holding you back. 

    Players to Buy  

    Jason Kipnis, 2B, at TEX (Martinez), $4500: Lou raised the price of Kipnis, he’s been losing at the track. But with Kipnis on a ballistic 19-for-31 tear the last seven games (10 runs, one homer, five RBIs, three steals), you have to strongly consider paying up. The Nick Martinez hit-rate luck tour has to come to a stop eventually; last year lefties posted an .832 OPS against him. 

    Shin-Soo Choo, OF, vs. CLE (Carrasco), $3200: Something’s clicked for him during the current homestand (13-for-28, three homers), and he’ll enjoy the platoon split on Sunday. Maybe the Rangers didn't get rooked on this contract after all. 

    Didi Gregorius, SS, at KC (Volquez), $2200: Normally I’d want no part of a ninth-place batter, but Gregorius is the minimum salary and he’s already gotten comfortable against Edinson Volquez (4-for-7, two homers). 

  • Closing Time: Who is Cory Spangenberg?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 7 days ago

    The freshly-retooled Padres have plenty of guys who can knock the ball around the park and over the fence. You expect big things from Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. You liked Wil Myers as a late-round sleeper. You see the value of sneaky catcher Derek Norris. 

    The infield, that’s been a little dicier, with all sorts of moving parts. Today, we talk about Cory Spangenberg, middle infielder on the move. Start with his two homers from Thursday’s win, and then we’ll consider the bigger picture. 

    The 24-year-old lefty swinger has always been respected property; he was a first-round draft choice in 2011, and showed up on some rated prospect lists a year later. Spangenberg flashed respectable hitting ability in the minors (.296/.356/.405), along with 104 steals in 374 games. He didn’t embarrass himself in brief San Diego action last year, hitting .290 in 20 games (two homers, four steals). 

  • Daily Dime: Stacking against Erasmo Ramirez; John Mayberry, DFS

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 8 days ago

    Another day of DFS hijinks. Check some lineups, check some weather (especially in Southern California, oddly enough), build your mousetrap.

    Players to Buy

    Yankees Stack, at TB (Ramirez): For the last three years, Erasmo Ramirez has been Spanish for “hit me" (5.50 ERA, 1.50 WHIP) The best New York lefties aren’t giveaway prices, but I won’t quibble for anyone who wants to pay up for surging Jacoby Ellsbury, underrated Brett Gardner or comebacking Mark Teixeira (Ellsbury and Teixeira have homers off Ramirez, in just one meeting, if that matters to you). Catcher Brian McCann remains reasonably priced at $3100, and there's a case for Carlos Beltran at $2800. 

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    Player to Fade

  • Closing Time: Life on the Stephen Strasburg rollercoaster

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    Stephen Strasburg always looks so tantalizing in the showroom, so appealing in the catalog. He’s the sports car of fantasy baseball; the pricy yacht; the vanity purchase; the stab at glittering, glamorous upside. 

    But let’s accept one dangling reality of our numbers racket: the two best Strasburg moments are the day you draft him and the day you trade him away. It's complicated.  

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    Most of Strasburg’s seasons to this point have been good, but not transcendent. Although he’s regularly a hipster Cy Young pick from a handful of pundits, he’s never finished in the Top 8 of the voting. His career ERA is good-not-elite, 3.14. His career WHIP is strong-not-elite, 1.12. Strasburg won the strikeout title last year, the first time he pushed past 183 innings. 

    A pitcher’s won-loss record is filled with plenty of static, so take this with some grains of salt: Strasburg is merely 24-24 since the beginning of 2013. 

  • Closing Time: The last days of Cishek

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 10 days ago

    I’m not a Los Angeles sympathizer by any means. I lived there for 14 months once upon a time and wasn’t particularly happy. L.A. wasn’t my kind of town.

    But I don’t think anyone can deny there’s something special about Chavez Ravine, and Vin Scully, and a glorious Dodgers walk-off victory. 

    Rollin’ down Imperial Highway 

    Big nasty redhead at my side

    Santa Ana winds blowin’ hot from the north

    And we was born to ride

    Monday’s conclusion had it all, a game-ending homer from Scott Van Slyke, Scully’s elegant call (and 40 seconds of silence), the victory music, the jump-around at home plate. Even if you don’t have a Los Angeles stake, it's a feel-good moment.

    Unless, of course, you own Steve Cishek. Yeah, I’ve buried the lede under a layer of L.A. smog. Scully is that good. Randy Newman is that good, too. 

  • Daily Dime: Jung Ho Kang on the move

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 11 days ago

    Check the weather, check the lineups, join a contest. Repeat until rich. 

    Let's look at the Monday slate. 

    Players to Buy 

    Jung Ho Kang, SS, at PHI (Williams), $2600: Everyone is crushing Jerome Williams this year, righties and lefties, so you’re invited to send it in on any Pirates bats that make sense to you. Isn’t it time the Bucs made Kang a full-time player? He’s on a .462/.517/.769 wave over his last eight games (two homers, one steal), and when you drop a four-year, $11 million contract on a 28-year-old infielder, you’re expecting some sort of immediate returns. Kang’s notably underowned in Yahoo leagues, too (11 percent); I added three shares myself in the past week. 

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    Players to Fade