- Andy Behrens at Roto Arcade9 hrs ago
When a big league manager gives a vote of confidence to his closer, it's basically the rhetorical version of an executioner polishing an axe. So when Angels manager Mike Scioscia declares that he's sticking with Ernesto Frieri, fantasy owners need to assume the opposite will soon be true.
Frieri coughed up four earned runs on three hits and a walk against the Nationals on Wednesday, retiring just one batter. He's allowed multiple hitters to reach base in each of his last five appearances, a streak that includes two blown saves. Jose Lobaton greeted him with a homer on Wednesday; Jayson Werth finished him with a rocket of a double, swinging on a 3-0 count.
"It's in him [to close]," Scioscia later said. "We just need to get him a little more consistent."
- Brad Evans at Roto Arcade10 hrs ago
Place your ear to the grapevine this time of year and chances are you’re bound to hear stories of despair, mediocrity and, of course, excessive hype …
This group of draft prospects is RISING. That group is FALLING. Everyone in this class is destined to overachieve/underachieve.
The wild speculation, whether positive or negative, is seemingly endless. Sonny Weaver, the fictional general manager of the Cleveland Browns in ‘Draft Day,’ would certainly agree. Just look at the insane rumors regarding former Pitt QB Tom Savage and Drake's brother from another mother Johnny Manziel.
Smokescreens or not, fantasy owners, who function similarly as GMs over fledgling virtual franchises, face identical dilemmas. Receive poor intel and you’re likely headed to an early grave filled with constant ridicule and liquid therapy. However, buy into rock solid intel, and jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash aren’t a figment of the imagination, they’re reality.
- Dalton Del Don at Roto Arcade18 hrs ago
As someone who recommended taking starting pitching early this year, Clayton Kershaw getting hurt and Stephen Strasburg currently sporting a 5.33 ERA sure hasn’t helped my case. But after those two, most have been as advertised (give or take). I’m in no way claiming victory with this strategy (and admittedly, I was high on Danny Salazar, Homer Bailey and Zack Wheeler. Chris Sale and Alex Cobb are also currently on the DL), but the biggest disappointments so far have been hitters for the most part. Before I go any further, I want to be clear I expect almost all of these hitters will be fine moving forward. We are still dealing with small samples. But there are some serious star hitters off to pretty horrendous starts.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade20 hrs ago
The easy part of the Charlie Blackmon game came in early April. The harder part comes now.
We first started discussing Blackmon about three weeks ago, after his 6-for-6 explosion in the Coors Field opener. It wasn't a difficult call – we saw plausible upside, we outlined it, we talked about it.
If you wanted Blackmon back then, all you probably had to do is find one disposable player on your roster and you were in business. Simple trade-off. Maybe you were discarding someone in the minors, or moving a disabled player. Perhaps you were giving up on a March lottery ticket that didn't pay off. It probably was a painless, all-upside move. (Mind you, some reckless gamblers paid $14 for Blackmon in industry mixed leagues – okay, that was me. But in public leagues, a resource-drop probably wasn't required.)
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade1 day ago
Evaluating coaching is one of the most difficult things to do for any sports observer, especially when we're looking at the development and improvement side. We're not in the locker room, we're not on the practice field, we're not in the workout room. Players improve all the time and it's not always clear who deserves the credit – and how much of that credit might go to someone (or something) outside of the player himself.
All preamble aside, it sure looks like Pittsburgh has a good thing with pitching coach Ray Searage. And by proxy, this might be enough to make a case for reclamation project Edinson Volquez.
Searage became Pittsburgh's full-time pitching coach in 2011 and he's had plenty of feel-good stories on his watch. A.J. Burnett repaired his career with the Pirates in 2012 and Francisco Liriano did the same thing last year. No one thought much of Jason Grilli and Mark Melancon when they joined the Bucs; now, they're both considered lockdown relievers.
Is Volquez the feel-good story for 2014? Let's have a look around.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade2 days ago
Normally when a former top prospect gets off to a tidy 1.80/1.00 start on the mound, everyone sits back, relaxes, enjoys the ride. But we're seeing an interesting divergence of opinion on Julio Teheran.
Teheran's latest start was a seven-inning dandy against the Marlins on Monday (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8). He had to settle a no-decision when Craig Kimbrel struggled in the ninth, but nonetheless this was a fun, useful line for all formats. We could be upon the stardom campaign the scouting hounds have been waiting for – Teheran was a Top 5 prospect on pretty much everyone's clipboard back in 2011-2012.Fri, Apr 254:10 PM PDTMiami at NY MetsPreview Game
- Andy Behrens at Roto Arcade2 days ago
One of the really nice things about the Miami Marlins, at least from a fantasy perspective, is that the organization aggressively promotes MLB-ready prospects.
Jose Fernandez made his Miami debut at age 20, having never appeared in a regular season game above Single-A. No member of this team's home-grown starting outfield — not Yelich, not Ozuna, not Stanton — was required to make a stop at Triple-A prior to joining the Fish. Often, when this franchise decides that a highly regarded prospect is ready to tread water, they simply toss the kid in the deep waters of the N.L. East.
So when we tell you that left-handed starter Andrew Heaney has been embarrassing the hitters of the Double-A Southern League, you should consider it actionable fantasy info.
Heaney, 22, entered the season ranked as the consensus No. 1 talent in the Marlins' minor league system, and he's been brilliant through four early starts at Jacksonville. He's struck out 25 batters over 24.1 innings thus far, issuing only three walks, 18 hits and four runs. His last three starts have been particularly terrific, as he's yielded just one run and eight hits over 19.0 frames.
- Andy Behrens at Roto Arcade3 days ago
Milwaukee shortstop Jean Segura has opened the 2014 season in much the same way that he finished in 2013. That is to say, he's hitting poorly. Segura is just 17-for-73 at the moment (.233) with four extra-base hits (no homers). He's drawn only one walk in 17 games, and he's been caught stealing in four of his seven attempts.
Not good, friends. Not good at all.
You might recall that Segura was a second-half bust last year, giving us a post-break slash-line of .241/.268/.315 and homering just once. He was a beast in the first two months last season — he hit .367 in April, then .345 in May — but he's been Alcides Escobar-ish ever since.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade4 days ago
While everyone remembers Gordon Gekko's speeches and Bud Fox's rise and fall from the seminal film Wall Street , Lou Mannheim is the hidden soul of the picture (in Rounders terms, he's the Knish). Here's one of Lou's watershed tidbits:
The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.
Mannheim was talking about, well, money. But for our purposes, let's assume he was referring to saves. Framed another way: how badly do you want (or need) Kyle Farnsworth today?
Jose Valverde has been a hot mess over his last three appearances (eight runs, four homers), forcing the Mets to make a change. You're grounded, Papa Grande. Terry Collins made it official on Easter morning: Farnsworth is the closer for now.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade5 days ago
You need a plan for the upcoming week, so let's take a look at the double-dipping pitchers for the period Monday-Sunday. As always, consider everything on this list tentative: sometimes pitchers get scratched, sometimes plans change, sometimes it rains.
Additional notes will follow after the pitching form.