Scott Pianowski

  • Closing Time: The Ian Kinsler problem

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 hr ago

    Name brands tend to die hard in fantasy leagues, which is why Ian Kinsler still holds a 95-percent Yahoo tag and a lofty ranking on many industry boards. But I know he’s available in one of my eight Yahoo leagues. 

    And he’s there because I dropped him . And heck, I was just kicking the tires (sorry, we kick a lot of tires here) after someone else dropped him a few weeks back. 

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    Kinsler turned 33 in the middle of June, and second base sure seems like a position where it gets late early. All the attrition, all those pivots. Kinsler’s 2014 Detroit debut had plenty of category juice and was driven by full-season volume, but let’s also acknowledge he’s just a .270/.314/.397 hitter since joining the Tigers. The bat doesn’t look so special anymore. He's walking more this year, but the average and power are depressed. So are fantasy owners. 

    I can guarantee you I’m not going old at second base next year. The keystone race is to the swift. 

  • Closing Time: We had a better headline, but Cesar Hernandez stole it

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 day ago

    In the Tuesday Closing Time, we went with a soft sell of Cesar Hernandez. In the current edition, we’ll amp things up a bit. 

    He keeps running, so we keep writing. 

    When it comes to fantasy specialists, there’s a low barrier to relevance. Anyone who is collecting saves for a major-league club is worth rostering in most fantasy leagues, even if the other stats are dodgy (the good old Mesa Mandate). It isn’t quite that simple with offensive players, but if someone is capable of running aggressively when they reach base, we’ll overlook some other stuff. 

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    And heck, maybe Hernandez will settle into a role even when Utley returns. Here’s what interim manager Pete Mackanin had to say about Hernandez on Tuesday - head over to the Phillies team site

    It’s about time the 2015 Mariners got a break. 

  • Daily Dime: Can Billy Hamilton outrun the raindrops?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 day ago

    I’m not going to point you to Chris Sale for Tuesday night. If you can’t build that case on your own, there’s no hope. Let’s see if we can support him with some other plays, and give you alternatives if you need to go contrarian, here and there.

    Study the lineups, consider the weather. Let's get to it. 

    Billy Hamilton, OF, vs. MIN (Hughes), $3000: He’s been on a stealing rampage this month, and he’s set to lead off for the second straight game. Phil Hughes is nothing special when it comes to stopping the running game. There’s some rain in the forecast, but if things look clear around opening pitch, Hamilton is a dynamic play at a modest cost. 

    Josh Phegley, C, vs. COL (De La Rosa), $3100: Here’s the best-kept secret at the catcher position, someone who’s mashed to a .362/.423/.617 line against lefties. Colorado's De La Soul is a southpaw, so if Phegley is in the Oakland lineup, he’s in my lineup. 

  • Opening Time: Kendall Graveman's sinker is on the rise

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    A lot of pundits have picked on the A’s for the Josh Donaldson trade, and you can count me in that group. But any transaction where you acquire Kendall Graveman can’t be so bad. 

    Graveman’s first go-round in Oakland was rocky - he had an 8.27 ERA at the end of April. But Oakland stuck with the rookie right-hander and rewards have followed: a 4-2 record over eight starts, with a 2.01 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. Graveman threw seven bagels at the Rockies on Monday, then watched the bullpen finish off the 7-1 laugher. 

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    Pitching to contact is a major chunk of the Graveman story. He has a modest 37 strikeouts (against 14 walks) over the 53.2 quality innings he’s given us the last two months, something that could be a deal breaker in some leagues that cap your starts or innings. He throws his sinker about half the time and induces a ground ball on 47 percent of his batted balls, obviously a good thing. 

  • Shuffle Up: J.D. Martinez, the real deal

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    The assignment on the docket is outfielders. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. How should we rank the Yahoo-eligible outfielders, 5x5 value, if the season started right now?

    A few rules. Catcher-eligibles who also qualify in the outfield are ignored. I don't rank anyone in the minors - you can decide what they're worth to you. And while I do rank injured players, I'm not going to debate those ranks. It's not my back, my wrist, or my surgery, and I've found over the years that almost everyone is far more optimistic about long-term injury returnees than I am.

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    The dollar values are unscientific, and merely provided as a tool to compare the players at the same position (I wouldn't suggest you use them to compare players at different positions). Groups of players at the same price are considered even. 

    Game on. 

    Brantley and Puig are two more players I'm treading carefully on, concerned about how healthy they may or may not be.

  • Daily Dime: Exes (Bogaerts) and Ohs (Odor) on a Monday

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago

    Run the lineups, check the weather, nod to Elle King, assemble your dream team. Let's get to it...

    Rougned Odor, 2B, at BAL (Norris), $2600: There have been three distinct portions of Odor’s season: the awful five weeks that forced a demotion (.486 OPS), the ballistic month at Triple-A where he restored his confidence (1.065 OPS), and the snappy 12 games since he returned (.395/.442/.632, two homers, four steals). The Rangers are using Odor at the top of the lineup more often than not these days, and I have to assume he sticks there Monday, off a three-hit game and facing the ordinary Bud Norris. The backdrop of Camden Yards is also a plus. Even if Odor were into the 3K range, I’d strongly consider him. At this bargain cost, it’s an easy punch. 

    I’d like to see more of the seasonal players jumping in, too. Odor is the No. 6 second baseman in Yahoo over the last two weeks, but he’s still free to add in 71 percent of leagues. Get to work. 

  • Daily Dime: To Scherzer or not to Scherzer?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 6 days ago

    Run through the lineups, check the weather, build your DFS green monster. 

    Max Scherzer, SP, at PHI (Harang), $12500: Your Friday lineup construction starts with the Max-or-no-Max question. Scherzer has been untouchable over his last two starts (18 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 26 K), and now draws the lowest scoring team in the majors. Although the Nats are on the road, Scherzer is still the biggest favorite on the card, checking in at -205.  

    I can't blame anyone who decides this is an unstoppable force that needs to be purchased Friday. But there's a realistic secondary option if you want to save some money. 

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    Liriano is generally a good bet with the home cooking, holder of a 3.19 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, for his career, at PNC Park. And the Braves tend to struggle against left-handers, holding the second-worst wOBA in the majors in that split. 

  • Closing Time: Luis Valbuena and the Mendoza Line

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 8 days ago

    Luis Valbuena is not a particularly skilled fielder. Luis Valbuena is not a fast baserunner. Luis Valbuena doesn't have a rocket arm. Luis Valbuena swings and misses an awful lot. There's a lengthy list of things he can't do. 

    Oh, and Luis Valbuena hits some home runs. A lot of them, in fact. 

    Valbuena clocked a couple of souvenirs (juicy center-cut fastballs) in Tuesday's romp in the OC, giving him 19 homers for the season. Only four players have hit more. He qualifies at two Yahoo positions (second, third), something we love in the fantasy game. 

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    Does this mean Valbuena has fantasy value? That's open to debate. 

    Valbuena is still available in about three-quarters of Yahoo leagues. And he'll probably be in my Tout Wars lineup next week, for better or for worse. 

  • Daily Dime: Unstoppable Pujols, comebacking Cano, blossoming Buxton

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    The worst part of DFS is the need to play weatherman. The Tuesday forecast is messy for the games in Boston, New York and Washington, which potentially mucks up some strong theoretical plays (Betts, Franco, Gardner, so many guys under this unfortunate cloud). You'll have to decide what that risk means to you. As always, try to make your final decisions as close to the start of your contest as possible. 

    Your weather info is here. Lineups, eventually, will filter in here.

    Robinson Cano, 2B, vs. KC (Guthrie), $2400: He's started to perk up over the last few games (1.015 OPS last five), and Jeremy Guthrie can't get left-handers out consistently (remember what the Yankees did to him a month ago)? Any Seattle lefty you want to consider (Seager, Smith, Morrison, even Miller), I completely see the argument. 

  • Closing Time: Hector Santiago, better than you think

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    Do you believe in love? Do you believe in magic? Do you believe in miracles? 

    Do you believe in Hector Santiago, Orange County lefty with a tidy 2.68 ERA? 

    The spreadsheets and the projection systems sure don't - they've been calling for Santiago's collapse for several years now. Pumpkin risk, raised to orange. Although Santiago has a 3.36 career ERA, his FIP stands at 4.41 and his xFIP at 4.55. Zips and Steamer both expect Santiago to have an ERA over four over the remainder of 2015. 

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    Two outlier stats jump out when you examine Santiago's page: he's stranding runners at a ridiculous 89-percent rate and he's inducing a fly ball 52.7 percent of the time. Both stats rank first among all qualified starters. 

    Try to keep an open mind.