Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders this week.
If redrafting today, what second basemen should go after Robinson Cano: Jason Kipnis, Dustin Pedroia, Ben Zobrist, Brandon Philips, Ian Kinsler or OTHER.
Dalton – PEDROIA. It makes it easier with Kinsler hurt, and others certainly have a case as well. I know Pedroia has just two home runs, but he currently sports a 11.8 K% and a 13.3 BB%, showing his .333 BA is no fluke. More homers will come.
Brandon – PEDROIA. I had Pedroia at No. 2 and Kipnis at No. 3 on my final preseason rankings for second base, and nothing has knocked me off that stance yet.
Brad – KIPNIS. After being locked in cold storage for most of April the Indian has thumped the drum in recent weeks slashing a .346-4-13-12-3 line since May 7, the best overall output of any player in Y! fantasy. With his ISO hovering around .235, it would be no surprise if he flirted with 30/30 territory.
Son of a Mitch! End of season homers for red-hot Ranger Mitch Moreland 25.5
Brandon – UNDER. I see him finishing right at this number - call it 24-25. His power is always evident in May, but the staying power has been elusive, as his second half slugging percentage has faded each of the past two seasons.
Brad – Ever so slightly UNDER. Look, there’s a great deal to like here – launching pad home environment, solid lineup, friendly spot in the order. Flukes happen, yes, but he’s never been projected to develop into a 30 HR masher. Keep in mind he clubbed just 16 homers over 464 at-bats in 2011. He toes the line and finishes with 25.
Scott – I'm going OVER on Moreland: he's in the Age-27 season, handling lefties fine, and finally plays every day. This is what a growth season looks like. Arlington gets juicier as the summer goes along; I'm not sweating his personal history in that regard. (And how dare you lock me out of the Pedroia party above? Someone make me a Kinsler offer, right now. This is a mandate. You are being hijacked. And while the rant window is open, I'd move Kinsler for any of those other chaps immediately, if not sooner.)
What struggling reliever is the bigger ninth-inning nincompoop rest of season: Jim Johnson or Fernando Rodney?
Brad – RODNEY. Mixing long-balls with walks ranks up there with drinking and chainsawing on the scale of lethal concoctions. Until Rodney remedies his control (15 BB in 16.1 IP) he will remain an enormous risk. Despite his string of recent implosions, Johnson’s underlying profile is easier to stomach.
Scott –RODNEY. Johnson had a run of 35 straight conversions and Buck Showalter never wavered during the slump, offering an ironclad McGriff-level endorsement. The velocity is fine, the command just needs a tweak. Maybe Rodney needs to ditch the plantain and find some nice, juicy papaya.
Andy – RODNEY. His history is much sketchier, and he's already walked as many batters this season as he did all last year. Plenty of red flags.
Brandon Belt, who lately has come on strong, combined homers/RBI rest of season 65.5
Scott – Sounds like an UNDER, because of the batting slot, the park, and my Bochy fears.
Andy – That's, um ... weird. Combined homers-plus-RBIs? Weird. I'll take the OVER, because I think he'll get close on RBIs alone.
Dalton – UNDER. I'm a Belt fan and think he's going to continue to improve from here on out, but he plays in one of the toughest parks for left-handed batters, and Bruce Bochy all too frequently hits him toward the bottom of the lineup. I say he falls just short.
Fill in the blank. Fawned over top prospect Jurickson Profar accumulates ______ at-bats, ______ batting average, ______ homers, ______ RBI, ______R and _______SBs over the remainder of the season.
Andy – AAAARRGH. I'm not going to play this ridiculous game, not with Profar. You don't add a guy like this because you have a specific forecast in mind. With a kid like Profar, the range of possible outcomes is the thing. You have to take fliers on elite prospects with exceptional ceilings. In a mixer, there's no great penalty if he happens to flop.
Dalton – 300, .265, 7, 35, 40, 12
Brandon – Sure, I'll play this silly game - 222, .279, 6, 24, 29, 8
On the DEFCON scale of panic, with one being Matt Harvey and 10 being David Price, what number would you assign Cole Hamels?
Dalton – TWO. His average fastball velocity (91.5 mph) and SwStr% (12.5) remain intact. Over his last eight starts, he's posted a 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 50 strikeouts over 52.0 innings. He's going to be just fine.
Brandon – THREE. He's having rookie season-esque control issues, but he's run off six consecutive seasons with a B/9 rate of 2.63 or less, so I expect that he'll curb the free passes before long. Other than location issues, there's really nothing under the hood that scares me.
Brad – SIX. Point blank, Hamels’ fastball command has, at times, been dreadful. He’s routinely missed spots which have led to a BB/9 and HR/9 spike. Toss in poor run support (2.89 RS/9) and he’s a southpaw with issues, though he's pitched better of late.
Fleet-footed Texas outfielder Leonys Martin (7-percent owned), who has five steals since May 15, rest of season swipes 14.5
Brandon – OVER. He definitely has the speed to get it done, as he's showed over the past week. But, that said, I don't think he clears this number by much. He doesn't help himself out enough in the walks department, and he's not exactly a natural base burglar.
Brad – OVER. Martin wasn’t a prolific base stealer down on the farm, but many scouts believed he was capable of developing into a 25-30 SB contributor. Now getting consistent PT in center and with his OBP on the rise, another 16 or 17 steals are very possible.
Scott – UNDER. I don't see the Rangers married to a role for Martin. Ron Washington, you so crazy.
Strikeout machine Justin Masterson, on pace to obliterate his career high in Ks (159), K/9 over the remainder of the season 7.99
Brad – OVER. Masterson has been nothing short of masterful in recent turns, leaning heavily on his slider which has become nearly unhittable. His career-best K/9 was 8.28 back in ’09, but another 130-135 Ks aren’t out of the question.
Scott – I'm still going UNDER until I'm confident he's found a way to solve left-handed batters. This is a recording.
Andy – I've always liked Masterson more than I should, but I still have to take the UNDER here. This number is well beyond the K/9s he's posted since becoming a full-time starter.
Sticking with a Cleveland theme, back-from-the-dead starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who’s allowed just five earned in his past 23.2 IP, rest of season ERA 3.99
Scott – This is an UNDER. The mechanics look smooth again, finally. The upcoming schedule is nasty but that sort of thing evens out down the road. And as we saw in the Colorado days, when Jimenez is right, he's capable of succeeding despite a tricky environment.
Andy – OVER. The velocity isn't close to where it was, back when Ubaldo was truly useful. And the match-ups ahead are truly brutal.
Dalton – OVER. I do like the strikeouts, but Jimenez's average fastball velocity is a career low, and his command is still terrible (4.20 BB/9). He also pitches in a division with the second best run differential in baseball. I'm skeptical. And if you'll allow me to interject on the previous question about his teammate Masterson, consider me a full believer.
Requiem for a STREAM. Pick one road warrior: David Phelps (at TB), Jeff Locke (at Mil), Jason Vargas (at KC), Tyler Chatwood (at SF), Justin Grimm (at Sea)
Andy – Gimme VARGAS, with only modest confidence. I kinda hate these names. I'd consider Grimm as well, if chasing stats at the end of the head-to-head week.
Dalton – GRIMM. Only the White Sox have scored fewer runs than the Mariners this season, and despite the fences moving in, Safeco Field continues to be a pitcher's park. Plus, the Rangers have a strong lineup and a solid bullpen to support him.
Brandon – GRIMM. M's are struggling mightily at the moment, and Grimm has 11 Ks and three earned runs allowed in two meetings against Seattle already this season.
Brad – GRIMM. Maximize the matchup. The Mariners are far from a juggernaut offensively and the venue is ideal. It would be no shock if he logged a line similar to his last dance with Seattle April 21 (6 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, W).
Scott – LOS VARGAS looks good to me, backed by a super defense and that surging Trout fellow. Yes, I'm picking against the Mendoza Line.
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