- Brandon Funston at Roto Arcade11 hrs ago
It's arguable that among the players that opened the '14 regular season in the minors, no player's eventual promotion to the majors was more eagerly anticipated in fantasy baseball circles than that of Astros top prospect George Springer. In the numbers-dependent virtual game, Springer's combined 37 home runs and 45 steals in 135 games last season across two minor league levels (Double- and Triple-A) was impossible to ignore.
When Springer was promoted this week, the buzz was clear and present. On Wednesday, Springer's MLB debut for the Astros, the Houston man-child was picked up in nearly 50,000 Yahoo leagues. That was 40K more leagues than any other player on that day. Springer picked up a hit in his debut, but went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts. And the swing-and-miss issues are the rub when it comes to Springer's profile. He's been a high-K type throughout his minor league career, though he's managed to walk a healthy amount as well.Sat, Apr 191:05 PM PDTHouston at OaklandPreview Game
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade13 hrs ago
In many ways, it's the age of enlightenment for fantasy sports. Information is everywhere, advice is everywhere, stats are everywhere. In most of the leagues I play in and observe, there's less of a gap between the proven contenders and the second-division teams.
But that doesn't mean fantasy owners don't make mistakes. Even the consistent players aren't immune to a misstep here or there. Let's shine a light on some of those errors, five mistakes even good fantasy owners make.
-- Declaring some players untouchable
Every so often you hear the call in your fantasy league: a competitor is putting this player or that player on the block. One way to start a conversation, I guess. Often it's a slumping, disappointing player getting pushed into the showroom.
It's time to take a different angle to this. Why not put your good players on the trading block? Heck, why not have everyone on your team available at any time?
- Brandon Funston at Roto Arcade15 hrs ago
Each week, Yahoo fantasy experts Brandon Funston, Andy Behrens, Scott Pianowski, Dalton Del Don and Brad Evans forecast the future of some of the most interesting fantasy story lines across the majors.
Houston's recently promoted top prospect George Springer, combined rest of season homers/steals 36.5
Brandon – UNDER. Hard to know if he's going to spend the rest of the season in Houston — he could suffer a big slump because of his contact issues and perhaps see another stint in Triple-A. I'm bullish on Springer for the long run, but I'd predict something like 14/19 for him in '14.
Scott – UNDER, because I tend to be conservative with rookies and the next shiny toy. Mind you, I grabbed Springer where I could, too. But sometimes the best time to flip a rookie is right before he has an extended trial; some fantasy owners will get carried away.
Andy – I'll take the OVER, but not by much. It's easy enough to imagine Springer giving us a 20/18-type season, with a .250 average. Basically, I'm saying I think he can be Venable-ish.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade17 hrs ago
If you're a fan of young, buzzy pitching prospects, the 2014 draft board had plenty of names to take aim at. Gerrit Cole was on an island somewhat (carrying an industry rank of 21), but opinions were clustered with the next four sophomores of note: Michael Wacha (No. 29), Danny Salazar (No. 32), Sonny Gray (No. 34) and Tony Cingrani (No. 38). Which trendy picks wound up on your club?
[Baseball 2014 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Still time for another league!]
Salazar is clearly the lagger of the group as we look through the opening couple of weeks, a slump no one saw coming. He had an uneven 5.2-inning stint against Minnesota to open the year, and he's allowed 10 runs over his last two starts (including Thursday's mess at Detroit). Add it all up and there are crooked numbers everywhere: 14 IP, 19 H, 12 R, 4 HR, 8 BB, 7.71 ERA, 1.93 WHIP. The league is batting .345 against Salazar.
- Andy Behrens at Roto Arcade1 day ago
OK, so Milwaukee starter Wily Peralta didn't quite dominate the Cardinals lineup on Wednesday — he went 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and one run, recording three Ks — but he did manage to pick up his second win of the year. We're now three starts into Peralta's season, and his ERA sits at 1.96, his WHIP at 1.09. The kid has faced nothin' but playoff-caliber lineups, too: Boston, Pittsburgh, St. Louis.
The schedule finally takes a friendly turn for Peralta next week, as he'll double-dip at home against the Pads and Cubs. He's unowned in 91 percent of Yahoo leagues at the moment, available to most of you. Without question, Peralta is worth a one-week test drive. He's a hard-throwing sinker/slider/groundball-type (95-96 mph), a 24-year-old righty with top-prospect credentials. This is a talented pitcher with K-potential on a quality team, perhaps making a leap.
Make the move as needed, then hit the bullets...
- Brandon Funston at Roto Arcade2 days ago
In our preseason starting pitcher rankings, we — the Yahoo fantasy baseball experts aggregate — ranked Yankees Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka as the No. 29 starter overall. Of course, that was before he mowed down 28 batters and posted two wins and a 2.05 ERA in the first three starts of his MLB career.
Since our initial rankings were based mostly on the merits of his impressive seven-year run in the Japanese League, we figured it was prudent to reassess where we see Tanaka fitting in among the fantasy baseball starting pitcher crowd now that he's actually faced MLB hitters. Here's the experts' take on Tanaka:
Brandon Funston (Tanaka preseason SP rank No. 25) — There have been several Japanese starting pitchers over the past couple decades that have enjoyed at least a successful season or two in the majors (Hideo Nomo, Hiroki Kuroda, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Yu Darvish and Hasashi Iwakuma chief among them). But none can claim a more impressive three-start split to open a major league career than Tanaka.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade2 days ago
It didn't take long for the 2014 Houston Astros to sink to the bottom of the pool, as expected. They're 5-9 through two weeks, tied for the worst record in the American League. The offense has been a joke thus far, with a pathetic .185/.258/.347 slash line. They're still light years from contention.
Obviously it's going to take a lot more than one player to fix this mess. That said, it's time to get excited: one of the team's buzzy prospects, George Springer, is on the way. The Astros made the call late Tuesday night.
Springer is a 24-year-old outfielder and a name you probably know already, no matter your level of prospect interest and sophistication. The Astros took him with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft and he's rocketed through the minors. Check what Springer posted last year in 135 games, covering Double-A and Triple-A: .303/.411/.600 slash, 37 homers, 45 steals (in just 53 attempts). Absurd. Those are video game numbers.
- Dalton Del Don at Roto Arcade3 days ago
Despite averaging 94.5 mph with his fastball while posting a 3.09 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, Andrew Cashner recorded just 128 strikeouts over 175.0 innings last season after finally becoming a full-time starter. The K rate improved after the All-Star break, when he produced a 2.14 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with a 61:19 K:BB ratio over 75.2 innings. The hope was that his impressive stuff would lead to more missed bats, and if Cashner’s first three starts are any indication, it’s going to come to fruition in 2014. He’s allowed just three runs over 21.0 innings, fanning 22 batters over that span. Cashner’s last outing was especially dominant, as he tossed a shutout against the Tigers, striking out 11 and yielding one lone hit (a single). Ironically, his SwStr% (7.1) is easily a career low, while his K% (27.5) is a career high. As any pitcher with a 1.29 ERA, Cashner has experienced some good fortune in the early going, as his .196 BABIP is especially crazy considering he also has a 2.50 GB/FB ratio. But all those groundballs should lead to few home runs allowed, and he also hasn’t given up many line drives (16.0%). PETCO Park has increased strikeouts by nine percent over the past three years, which is the most in baseball, so Cashner has that going for him as well. Part of the reason the Cubs traded him was because they didn’t think Cashner could ever be a 200-inning workhorse, but assuming he can stay healthy, he has all the makings of being a top-15 fantasy starter
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade3 days ago
My fantasy baseball experience dates back to the late 1980s, a much different time. The Internet wasn't around. No Extra Innings package, no smart phones. Heck, we hadn't bailed on MTV yet. Newspapers still mattered, and a lot of your fantasy commodities were anonymous collections of names and numbers. Sometimes you had no idea what these guys looked like, how they played, what they threw.
Sometimes you didn't even know the first names. Often you'd phone a commissioner (rotary dial) and sheepishly say "pick up Thompson of St. Louis."
I'm feeling nostalgic because of a story that's brewing in the Bay Area. Let's talk a little bit about Chavez of Oakland.
- Scott Pianowski at Roto Arcade5 days ago
Don Draper and the 60s return tonight? Swanky. The Red Sox and Yankees? Okay, that's a repeat. But let's renew our fake friendship, nonetheless.
First chat is set for 9 pm ET. Join us, pour a cocktail, grab a donut in the meeting room.Sat, Apr 1910:35 AM PDTBaltimore at BostonPreview Game