Scott Pianowski

  • Closing Time: Joe Smith steps in for Huston Street

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 17 hrs ago

    There’s nothing particularly exciting about Joe Smith, veteran relief pitcher. He has an ordinary name, ordinary stuff, a somewhat forgettable role as a set-up man. But the Angels know he’s the stand-in closer for when Huston Street needs a maintenance break, something we come to expect at least once a season. 

    And now we’re at that period of the time, the temporary changing of the guard. 

    Street is dealing with an oblique injury and will go on the disabled list at some point before the weekend. This comes with the territory when you draft Street — he’s averaged 55 innings per season since 2009, and has never gone past 62.1 innings in that period. He’s not the king of durability. This isn’t a six-month cruise. 

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  • Closing Time: Keep targeting the Braves until further notice

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 day ago

    Eight days ago, I spent a day on the Alex Wood bandwagon. I was in for a night, ready to dial him up with confidence.  

    That’s what the Atlanta Braves on the schedule will do to you. 

    As it turns out, Atlanta kicked Wood around that Tuesday evening — scoring an easy 8-1 victory. That’s the last highlight we’ve seen for the Braves. 

    How bad is the 2016 club down in Hot 'Lanta? How much time do you have? The 4-16 record is easily the worst in baseball. Atlanta is 1-12 at home, winning only that game I mentioned above. The pitching has been a mess, posting a 4.85 ERA (fifth-worst in the majors).

    [Yahoo Fantasy Football is open for the 2016 season. Sign up now]

    And then there’s the offense, which goes past bad — this could be a historic disaster. The Braves rank dead last in scoring, slugging percentage and weighted on-base average. They’re near the bottom in several other categories. And they’ve hit just three home runs, an absurd total through 20 games. 

  • Daily Dime: Taking swings against Detroit's Mike Pelfrey

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    As always, be sure to  watch the weather  and  stay on top of MLB lineups as you build your DFS dynasty. 

    SP Kyle Hendricks, $42, vs. Milwaukee: We get the second-highest pitching favorite on the board, and at a reasonable price (it’s 16 bucks cheaper than Kershaw and Scherzer). It’s refreshing to be backed by what looks like the deepest, most formidable offense in the National League (if not the majors).

    SP Johnny Cueto, $51, vs. San Diego: Big park, strong defense, unthreatening opponent, pitch-framing ace behind the plate (assuming Buster Posey goes). And with Hendricks at a thrifty price, it makes sense to pay up for the other pitcher. 

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    2B Enrique Hernandez, $12, vs. MIA (Koehler) 

    OF Billy Burns, $10, at Detroit (Palfrey): More lefty exposure to Pelfrey, someone likely to be near the top of the lineup. 

  • Fantasy Freak Show: Trying to solve Wainwright, Story, Rasmus

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago

    Player values are constantly changing. Up and down, ebb and flow, boom and bust. What’s real and what’s imaginary as we hit the end of April? When does a good start become a good season? When does a bad start become a real problem?

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    The scuffling Adam Wainwright is the lead item for Andy Behrens and Scott Pianowski as we open Week 4. Also discussed: Trevor Story (in a slump); Colby Rasmus (on a tear); Justin Upton (striking out constantly); available two-start pitchers; and brand-name pitchers in a funk (Chris Archer and Dallas Keuchel owners, we’re here to help).

    We'll also explain why fly-ball pitchers might be misunderstood, and why fly-ball hitters (with contact issues) are likely to drive you crazy. Run around the diamond with us. 

    Give it a listen, make it a habit

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  • Sunday optimal lineups for Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 4 days ago

    Before setting your Sunday lineups, take a look at the decisions made by two of our experts, assembling teams on a $200 budget. As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and track the weather.

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    Dalton Del Don SP: Yordano Ventura $42 SP: Matt Shoemaker $35 C: Dioner Navarro $8 1B: Mark Reynolds $15 2B: Howie Kendrick $13 3B: Nolan Arenado $26 SS: Troy Tulowitzki $14 OF: Mike Trout $20 OF: Jason Heyward $17 OF: Billy Burns $10

  • Closing Time: Colby Rasmus grows up

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 6 days ago

    Not that long ago, Colby Rasmus was a big deal in the prospect community. Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus both tabbed him a Top 10 prospect for 2008 and 2009, and he forced his way into the St. Louis lineup at the tender age of 22. 

    It’s been a meandering story since then — a handful of homers, a bunch of strikeouts, a couple of team changes. But the dots might be connecting for a nifty career year at age 29. 

    Rasmus was a part-time roto factor last year, conking 25 homers in 137 games. A .238 average isn’t easy to digest, however, and he only stole a couple of bases. He was Houston’s star bat in the playoffs, hitting four more homers over six games (for about two weeks, he was the GIF king of Twitter, on and off the field). 

    • Jake Arrieta isn’t our lede today because there’s nothing actionable, or new, to say about him. He’s been a front-line starter for almost two years now. He’s off a Cy Young campaign and one of the most electric second halves we’ve ever seen. When Arrieta dominates a weak offense like the Reds, it’s not front-page news. 

  • Closing Time: The beguiling Rick Porcello and Chris Archer

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 7 days ago

    Here we are, eight years into the Rick Porcello experience, and I’m still not sure what to think 

    Start with his 2016 stats, they’re all over the place. A 3-0 record and a 0.93 WHIP, that’s excellent. A 4.66 ERA, that’s a problem. Porcello has allowed five homers but less hard contact. Even the ERA estimators can’t agree: FIP suggests 4.70, xFIP offers 2.81. (Do you believe in home-run forgiveness? We could go 15 rounds, lost in that rabbit hole.)

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    If you’d like to see some video, have a look at what Porcello did against the Rays on Wednesday, his latest victory (7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 9 K). The stuff doesn't look overpowering, but the location is pretty. 

  • Closing Time: Cincinnati's messy bullpen, post-hype Padres

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 8 days ago

    The Cincinnati Reds have lost 86 and 98 games the last two seasons, and they’re not expected to contend for the playoffs this year. They’re one of the handful of NL clubs that could easily push 100 losses in 2016. 

    That said, we want their handshakes just the same. They’ll support a 30-save closer, assuming one man can take the job and run with it.

    At the moment, preseason favorite J.J. Hoover doesn’t look like that guy. He’s been scored upon in four of his seven appearances, compiling an ugly pitching line (5.1 IP, 8 H, 10 R, 9 R, 4 BB, 4 K). He’s already given up three homers, and the ERA has swelled to 15.19. 

    Hoover struggled in a high-leverage (but non-save) situation Tuesday, allowing a two-run homer to Mark Reynolds. Hoover finished the game and the Reds escaped with a one-run victory, but manager Bryan Price openly admitted the team’s closing gig was in question. 

    Is Hoover still the closer? Price not sure, says he will sleep on it. #reds

    Jumbo Diaz? He’s not in the mix right now. The Reds optioned him to Triple-A on Tuesday. 

  • Daily Dime: Alex Wood, some Jays, some Astros

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    As always when playing Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check the final lineups and the weather.

    SP: Alex Wood at Atlanta, $40

    Wood isn’t anywhere close to the ace class, but a matchup against Atlanta is lovely work if you can get it. The Braves had the worst offense in the majors last year, and it’s probably worse this season (.208/.300/.279, three piddly homers). Wood is the highest favorite on the card, and the cost is reasonable. Sure, I’m giving up some strikeout upside, but he’s a -185 choice. 

    SP: Michael Pineda vs. Oakland, $42

    Oakland isn’t a big strikeout team (just 25th in K-percentage), but the A’s are 27th in scoring and 27th in weighted on-base average. No one is afraid of this offense. Pineda is the second-highest favorite on the evening card, and I’m able to double up on heavy favorites without paying a prohibitive cost. 

    C: Yasmani Grandal at Atlanta, $12

    I thought about Devin Mesoraco but I’d like to see him do something first. 

  • Fantasy Freak Show: What's up with Wainwright, Harvey and Archer?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 10 days ago

    Everybody wants some pod. You want some, too. 

    (Where'd you get those cleats?)

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    Slow starts from big names, they're a big part of the Monday whiparound. What can we expect from Adam Wainwright, Felix Hernandez and Matt Harvey? And on the flip side, can we trust strong openers Joe Mauer, Nick Castellanos and others? Is there any hope for Freddie Freeman? Would you take Troy Tulowitzki or Trevor Story from this point forward?

    (A little more to the right.)  

    And just for grins, we give you a quick review of Richard Linklater's new film, Everybody Wants Some, and a widely-available two-start streamer to take a chance on. Poor a cold one, hoss, and let's figure this all out.

    Give it a listen, make it a habit