Scott Pianowski

  • Closing Time: How I learned to stop worrying and love Dallas Keuchel

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 18 hrs ago

    Dallas Keuchel might look like something out of ZZ Top, but he’s really a soft-rocker at heart – a lefty who’s average fastball doesn’t make it to 90. You’re not going to get gaudy strikeout numbers with Keuchel, either. 

    But don’t mistake him for an ordinary pitcher. Long-suffering Astros fans have their ace, and they don’t even seem to mind that he’s named Dallas. 

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    Keuchel had to settle for a no-decision in Monday’s turn at Texas, though his final line would make any fantasy owner happy: 8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K (six in a row at one point). It was a season high in whiffs, but that’s not part of the Keuchel package. For the season he’s at 6.0 K/9, a below-average number in today’s game. 

    Keuchel is good at the little things, too. He’s coming off a Gold Glove Award (in addition to a runaway win with the Fielding Bible panel), and he’s good at stopping the running game. He’s never going to beat himself, and if you put the ball near him, you’re out. 

  • Daily Dime: With Coors iffy, stay indoors (Houston, Toronto) for Monday

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 day ago

    A busy Monday slate, all tucked into the 7 pm ET and later block. Let’s get to it. Be sure to double-check those lineups and the weather (especially in Colorado).  

    Players to Buy 

    Dallas Keuchel, SP, vs. TEX (Detwiler), $8500: He’s just the No. 5 starting pitcher on the pricing board, but he’s the biggest Vegas favorite on the night (slipping past a road-starting Clayton Kershaw). That will work. Keuchel obviously is light on the strikeouts, but his efficiency allows him to work deep into games. And let’s give the guy credit for what he does exceptionally well  – inducing ground-ball contact and weak contact. He’s on zero of my seasonal teams, which depresses the hell out of me. But I’ll have Keuchel dialed up for Monday DFS.

    The Reluctant Fades

  • Daily Dime: With April over, go back to Adam LaRoche

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    It’s time for a glorious Sunday of baseball, all 30 teams ready to rock. Be sure to double-check the weather and lineups before first pitch commences.

    Players to Buy 

    Adam LaRoche, 1B, at MIN (Pelfrey), $2600: Generally I throw seasonal player trends into the trash, but LaRoche has an extended profile that tells us he won’t hit much in April. His career OPS is a mere 713 for the opening month, then it jumps to .801 in May (and, to be fair, .860 after the break). If you want a buy-low, LaRoche certainly fits the bill.  And when you see Mike Pelfrey on the opposing mound, you want to load up on left handers. 

    (There is one pesky thing about the White Sox offense - you can’t stack Jose Abreu and LaRoche together in Fan Duel since they’re both first base qualifiers. Ah well, so it goes. It’s only a matter of time before he gets comfortable in his new city and role.)

    Players to Fade 

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  • Closing Time: What's happened to Jason Heyward?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 4 days ago

    It’s easy to see why fantasy players talk themselves into Jason Heyward. He carried a boatload of prospect buzz prior to making the majors at age 20. He posted some fantasy-useful seasons in Atlanta, especially 2012. He looks good in the uniform. He’s athletic and multi-talented, one of the best defensive players in the game (that’s why WAR loves him so much). 

    And when Heyward shifted teams last winter, it was the Cardinals making the call. If you made a short list of organizations you want to backline, St. Louis is on it. Heyward also was entering a contract year, if that angle means anything to you (it doesn’t always check out if you grade those things in bulk, but motivation obviously varies from player to player). 

    Are you buying, selling or holding on Heyward? Take the temperature and share it in the comments.

  • Daily Dime: Stephen Strasburg, Thursday start or fade?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 5 days ago

    We've got six evening games to break down on the Thursday card. Be sure to check those lineups and weather reports carefully.   

    Here's my ten cents, worth less in Winnipeg. 

    The Big Name Fade

    Stephen Strasburg, SP, at NYM (deGrom), $9200: At some point Strasburg is going to find his form and throw some monster strikeout game at somebody. But for the moment, he’s a little off his game, strikeouts down, walks up. The Mets put the ball in play, eighth in walk rate and fifth in strikeout avoidance. I’ll spend my blue chips elsewhere, ask Strasburg to give me a prove-it game first. 

    Players to Buy 

    Daniel Norris, SP, at CLE (House), $5800: It’s been an up-and-down go for Norris, though he was very sharp in his last turn, a tough-luck no-decision against Tampa (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K). The Indians offense isn’t doing much against southpaws: .213 average (that ranks 25th), .623 OPS (27th). 

    Player to Fade

  • Closing Time: Can Joc Pederson offset his manager?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 5 days ago

    Although I was well aware of Joc Pederson’s prospect file before this season, I didn’t go after him with any gusto in March. I was worried about the pretzel logic of his manager, Don Mattingly. Maybe the skipper would jerk Pederson in and out of the lineup. Maybe the manager would keep Pederson buried in the order. 

    Now we’re at the end of April, and I have zero Pederson shares. And that’s no fun.

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    Pederson was off to a snappy .296/.458/.556 start through his opening 20 games, though it all came at the bottom of the Los Angeles batting order. Peterson regularly slotted eighth for the Dodgers, and moved up to seventh on the days A.J. Ellis started. You know Mattingly and his veteran-loving ways. 

  • Daily Dime: Adam Lind against a rookie, Carlos Martinez against Philly

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 6 days ago

    Another full slate of delicious DFS action. Be sure to check those  lineups  and  weather reports  carefully.    

    Here's my ten cents, worth less in some municipalities. 

    Players to Buy

    Adam Lind, 1B, at Cincinnati (Lorenzen), $3300 on Fan Duel: He’s made a career out of punishing right-handed pitching (.862 OPS), and here he takes dead aim against a 23-year-old pitcher making his Major League debut. Michael Lorenzen’s profile shows a lot of pitch-to-contact and spotty control (6.4 K/9, 3.4 BB/9); rookie pitchers are guilty until proven innocent. 

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    Players to Fade

  • Closing Time: The AL East shows its teeth again; J.A. Happ goes west

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 6 days ago

    Hope you enjoyed the one-year respite with AL East offense. The division is reloaded and ready to pile on the runs. Fun place to hit, dangerous place to pitch. 

    The Red Sox and Blue Jays offered their nominal aces for Tuesday night’s game and it didn’t matter much; Toronto pounded out an 11-8 victory at Fenway Park. Clay Buchholz didn’t make it out of the third inning, and Drew Hutchison expired in the fifth. Jose Bautista clocked a home run that still hasn’t landed yet, and Josh Donaldson and Hanley Ramirez also went deep. (Ramirez completed the Hanley Hat Trick by making an error and being caught on the bases. Ah, Ramirezes in Boston, the gift that keeps on giving.)

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    If you’re interested in a Happ purchase, he’s still available in 90 percent of Yahoo leagues. He draws Houston (road) and Oakland (home) for his next two starts. 

  • Daily Dime: Buying Tyson Ross, fading Archie Bradley on Tuesday

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 7 days ago

    Another heavy night of DFS action. Be sure to check those lineups and weather reports carefully.  

    Players to Buy 

    Tyson Ross, SP, vs. Houston (Hernandez), $8400 at FanDuel: The Astros are the easiest team to strike out, and Petco is obviously the best pitcher-park in the league. Ross loves the home cooking, that’s for sure: 2.03 ERA, 1.01 WHIP at the sandbox. He’s also drawing one of Houston’s weaker starting pitchers, giving him a better chance at those critical victory points.

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    Players to Fade

  • Closing Time: Alex Guerrero is raking, but where does he play?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 11 days ago

    On the right ballclub, Alex Guerrero could be a dynamite power bat, maybe an intriguing designated hitter. On the 2015 Dodgers, he’s reduced to pinch-hitting star and occasional fill-in. 

    We could be stuck in SoCal gridlock for a while. 

    Guerrero’s first year in Los Angeles was a washout, spent mostly in Triple-A and on the disabled list. That qualifies at a notable disappointment, given the Dodgers spent $28 million to land the highly-regarded Cuban hitter in advance of the 2014 season. When you pay up for someone into their age-27 season, you're expecting immediate returns. 

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    Nine hits, a 1.211 slugging percentage, it all leaps off the page. Everyone seems to be excited about Guerrero in L.A. – well, everyone except skipper Don Mattingly. You bring up Guerrero and Mattingly somehow forces the discussion to … Justin Turner?

    If you don’t want to use Buchholz against Toronto next week, I see your point. But when he reaches the Rays in two weeks, I’ll be on board.