Scott Pianowski

  • Closing Time: Who is Ryan Buchter?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 13 hrs ago

    On Wednesday night, Ryan Buchter was kicked around for five runs in a horrendous one-third of an inning. ERA fattening, WHIP bloating.

    On Thursday, Buchter may have been promoted to the closing role in San Diego.

    The save chase, she is a fickle and erratic siren.

    The biggest bullpen news from Thursday came in Bordertown, where the Padres traded closer Fernando Rodney to Miami. San Diego picked up pitching prospect Chris Paddack in return, a well-regarded but far-off right-hander who’s still in Class-A.

    Buchter turns 30 next year, but he’s crammed a lifetime of experiences into his 12 years of pro ball. He’s been traded a couple of times, released, worked for five different organizations. He had all of one major-league inning on his resume before 2016, but he’s quickly turned into a gem near the back of the Padres bullpen (2.91 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 50 K against 18 BB over 34 IP).

  • Closing Time: How much does Huston Street have left?

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 1 day ago


    It’s hard to believe the Angels were baseball’s best team back in 2014. No one topped their 98 wins that season, and the future looked bright with Mike Trout at the head of the line.

    Trout is still in The OC, of course, signed to a team-friendly contract that runs through 2020. But the rest of the Angels roster is a mess, a collection of problems that’s led to a 32-47 crash landing this year. Your sun-baked Angels are currently buried under 30 feet of snow, 19 games back in the AL West. This team isn’t going anywhere.

    The blame is shared between offense (18th in runs) and pitching (23rd in runs), with some bad luck thrown into the mix. And at some point you work your way to the back of the bullpen, where closer Huston Street might be on his last legs.

    You’re entitled to make excuses for Street if you prefer. His ugly resume this year is obviously based off a small sample of work. He’s allowing an unlucky .346 BABIP. Perhaps he’ll get back in form in a few appearances, more removed from the DL stint. Mike Scioscia is a veteran-coddling manager, unlikely to do anything rash with his vested closer.


  • Closing Time: Lonnie Chisenhall steps up

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 2 days ago

    Not that long ago, Lonnie Chisenhall was a pretty big deal in the scouting community. Baseball America and Baseball Prospected both rated Chisenhall on their clipboards prior to the 2010 and 2011 seasons; Chisenhall’s top rank was the No. 25 position from BA back in 2011. Not a blue-chipper or a can’t-miss kid, but a name to take seriously.

    Alas, Chisenhall’s career through six years has largely been a miss. But perhaps he’s turning into something in the midst of his age-27 campaign.

    The Indians have been baseball’s best team in June, rattling off a 20-6 record and a plus-62 run differential. Chisenhall has been part of the fun, posting a .305/.348/.512 slash with three home runs. He was also useful in May, when he posted an .850 OPS.

    If we focus on Chisenhall’s last 45 games, we see a batter who’s controlling the strike zone at a high level: 15 walks, 23 strikeouts. That reflects batting eye, bat control, pitch recognition, the whole thing. The Indians focus on Chisenhall against right-handed pitching (.831 OPS), but he’s improved against southpaws (.792 OPS) and is getting some starts in there, too.

  • Outfielder Shuffle Up: The ageless Carlos Beltran

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 3 days ago

    The idea is 5x5 value for rest of season. What's happened to this point is merely an audition. I didn't rank anyone on the DL, or anyone in the minors. Everyone seems to be more optimistic on injury returnees and hot prospects (hi, Buxton) than I am.

    This week, we sort the fantasy outfielders.

    The prices are unscientific in nature, and players at the same price are considered even. I'm just looking for a way to show the pockets of value as I see them. I don't look at old prices when I construct these -- it's all from scratch. I don't even see the point of looking back there; live in the present, look to the future.

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

    I welcome your respectful disagreement. Obviously you will feel passionate about what you don't agree with, that's why we have a game. The discussion can be deep and illuminating if you want it to be.

    Courtesy Injury Ranks - I wil not debate these

    Josh Reddick $14

    Dexter Fowler $14

  • Freak Show Podcast: Cardinals pen, Strasburg and Giolito, Steven Wright

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 4 days ago

    Volatility is the name of the game in bullpens. Ask St. Louis fans, they can relate. 

    Brandon Funston and Scott Pianowski are here to discuss the mess that is the Cardinals ninth inning. Can Trevor Rosenthal get his gig back, or is there a new sheriff under the arch? The guys also discuss Washington’s rotation, the future value of Steven Wright, Pittsburgh’s fork in the road, and some intriguing pickups. 

    [Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Baseball contest now]

    And to start off with some international flavor, there's some Lionel Messi soccer talk at the jump. We put that over the crossbar, too. 

    Give it a listen, you might just like it 

    And dig our iTunes and RSS feeds

  • Daily Dime: Hanley Ramirez, Kershaw and Cueto, Coors Field

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 5 days ago

    Watch the lineups and weather, set a DFS lineup, watch them go.

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    Dalton Del Don 

    SP Clayton Kershaw, at Pit, $63 SP Sonny Gray, at LAA, $36 C Nick Hundley, vs. Ari (Corbin), $15 1B Hanley Ramirez, at Tex (Perez), $10 2B Neil Walker, at Atl (Norris), $14 3B Todd Frazier, vs. Tor (Stroman), $12 SS Jean Segura, at Col (Bettis), $12 OF Bryce Harper, at Mil (Nelson), $18 OF Giancarlo Stanton, vs. CHC (Hammel), $11 OF Colby Rasmus, at KC (Kennedy), $9 I can’t bring myself to fade Kershaw with how dominant he’s been, and there are still some affordable options to fill out the rest of a lineup, with Harper and Stanton especially looking underpriced.

    Scott Pianowski

  • Closing Time: Trevor Rosenthal on alert in St. Louis

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 6 days ago

    You can fix a sandwich. You can fix a television set. Maybe you can even fix a soccer match. 

    Can the Cardinals fix closer Trevor Rosenthal? That remains to be seen.

    Rosenthal’s been a mess for most of the year, and the mess continued Friday at Seattle. Asked to protect a two-run lead in the ninth, he quickly blew up. Kyle Seager smoked a double. Dae-Ho Lee worked a walk. And then Adam Lind ended the proceedings, crushing a low fastball into the right-field seats, a no-doubter all the way

    Although Rosenthal is a reasonable 14-for-17 on save conversions this year, that doesn’t mean he’s pitching well. He’s carrying an ugly 5.63 ERA and 2.04 WHIP. His strikeout rate was ridiculous in April, but it’s fallen for two straight months. He’s walked 21 batters (none of them intentional) over 24 innings.

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

  • Closing Time: Mark Reynolds, summer rental

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 7 days ago

    Ten years into the Mark Reynolds experience, we should have a good idea of what he is — and what he is not. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a fantasy story worth kicking around here. 

    Reynolds has seen more of the USA than Rand McNally. He’s cashed a check from seven teams over his career, and only two of those stops were more than one season. It’s the takeaway from Everybody Wants Some — here for a good time, not for a long time.

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

    When it comes to Coors Field, everybody certainly wants some (you want some, too). Reynolds has been useful in his partial role this year, a .290/.357/.455 slash with seven homers in 224 at-bats. And things get especially interesting if you have the flexibility to take the center cut of his production, to use Reynolds at his best. 

  • Closing Time: Trevor Bauer's breakout is finally here

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 8 days ago

    When the 2016 season opened, Trevor Bauer wasn’t even in the Cleveland starting rotation. Now it looks like he’s finally giving us a breakout season that we’ve been dreaming about for five years.

    Bauer came to professional baseball with a ton of hype, the third pick in the 2011 amateur draft. Decorated kid from UCLA, made radar guns pop. The first year he qualified for the inner-circle prospect rankings, everyone had him in the Top 12. 

    When Bauer’s quick run through the minors was merely good, not outstanding, we made excuses for him. Maybe he’s bored. Maybe he’ll actually be better at the top level of competition. Bauer eventually debuted with the Diamondbacks in 2012, a mountain of expectations at age 21. 

    Bauer was forced into the Cleveland rotation in late April, a replacement needed when Carlos Carrasco suffered a hamstring injury. His first two turns were ordinary, but consider what he’s done over the last nine starts: 2.56 ERA, 1.07 WHIP. He’s striking out just under a batter per inning, and he’s giving us more than three whiffs for every walk.

  • Closing Time: Moving on from Ben Revere, Gerardo Parra

    Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade 9 days ago

    Much of the fantasy chase in this column is about who to pick up, who to trade, who to target, who to embrace. But sometimes we have to flip the script and talk about who to get rid of, who to kick to the curb.  

    Ben Revere and Gerardo Parra, come on down.

    The obvious disclaimers apply to any fantasy discussion — it’s all contextual and your league shape and team needs will drive decisions, yada yada yada. You’re going to have to season this to taste, somewhat. I’d like to assume you go into every column with that disclaimer well in mind, but every so often it bears repeating. 

    Okay, back to our curbside outfielders, who are both owned in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues. Let's fix those bloated ownership tags.  

    Not much has gone Revere’s way this season. He suffered an oblique injury on opening day and missed a month, and he hasn’t hit a lick since returning (.206/.256/.271, one homer). Other than seven steals, he’s been just about worthless as a fantasy player. He took another collar in Tuesday’s loss at Los Angeles. 

    Joe Smith, the nominal understudy, is currently on the DL with a hamstring injury. Cam Bedrosian might be worth a look in deeper pools.