Guest Week: Nevermind the PEDs, Here Comes Everth Cabrera

By Jordan Wevers
August 9, 2013

For my money, an undervalued NL West player in dynasty formats is Everth Cabrera.  Literally.  I paid $1 for this guy in my auction draft in March.  He was an afterthought for most managers who failed to notice he swiped 44 bases in 2012.  Other reasons I believe he was overlooked are obvious.  He plays his home games at PETCO, a notoriously favorable pitchers park.  He bats in a thin line-up, and is yet to record 400 ABs in a season.  PED suspension aside, let’s break down Mr. Cabrera a bit.

Before being suspended, he was posting breakout numbers across the board.  Everth was leading the National League in steals with 37, hitting above .280 and posting an OBP above .350 hitting out of the leadoff spot the first four months of the season for the Padres.  According to baseball-reference.com, the speedster from Nicaragua has a higher WAR rating (2.9) this season than fellow respected and established lead-off men Shin-Soo Choo (2.7), Ian Desmond (2.7), Jayson Heyward (2.3), and Norichika Aoki (2.2).

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Guest Week: Adam Eaton Can Fly the Millenium Falcon Too

By Joseph Pytleski (@agape4argentina)
August 5, 2013

Finding a true bargain is sometimes just being at the right place at the right time. In 1976, Harrison Ford was working as a carpenter on set when George Lucas asked him to read some lines. Next thing you know he landed the role of Han Solo over the likes of Nick Nolte and Kurt Russell, and the rest is history. He was literally the diamond in the rough.

Similarly, dynasty leagues are about finding value in players when no one else can. It’s about locating cheap, talented players who may not be playing up to their potential presently, but who’s return on investment down the road can pay big dividends. It’s not necessarily about finding the next superstar as much as it is finding the $1 player who gives you $5 in return. THAT is how you win championships. That is why you need to consider investing in Adam Eaton.

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Guest Week: I Can Bailey Contain My Excitement for Homer

By Russ Haigis (@RGH_2)
August 7, 2013

Don’t tug on Superman’s cape, don’t spit into the wind, don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and don’t draft a pitcher named Homer.  Three of those well-known rules should always be followed. Dynasty owners may want to ignore the last one.

Players often carry multiple labels during their careers such as “top prospect”, “can’t-miss”, “over-rated”, “bust”, etc.  If you are looking for a smart investment for this year and beyond, try an underrated player who has been labeled all of the above during his time in baseball;  Homer Bailey.  While many will use early draft picks or large portions of their auction budgets on big names, don’t forget this hidden gem from the NL Central.  Oh, and he is now fully equipped with his new label:  Undercover Ace.

Bailey, a first round selection in 2004, was drafted 5 picks after Justin Verlander and 5 picks before Jered Weaver.  He got the call to the majors in 2007, and Bailey went through plenty of bumps and bruises as he honed his craft against major league hitters.  In fact, through 2011 his ERA never dropped below 4.43. With the results not matching the pedigree, many wrote Bailey off as a failure.  It seems like he has been around forever, and many people have looked past Bailey when assembling their teams.  The savvy manager will ignore his bumpy past and focus more on what is important; Homer Bailey is on the verge of Ace-dom, and at the very worst should serve as a top-tier number 2 starter.

In 2013 Bailey carried an ADP of 187 according to ESPN and 173 on Yahoo.  This means he was taken as approximately the 45th starting pitcher off the board, after the likes of Dan Haren, Josh Johnson, Tim Lincecum, and Yovanni Gallardo.  Bailey is currently ranked as the 35th best starter according to Yahoo, but underneath the surface of a seemingly unimpressive ranking is an ocean of talent waiting to help you surge towards a championship.

At 27 years old, he is just entering his prime, and in 2013 he has a 6-10 Record, a 3.55 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP and 145 strikeouts in 144 innings.  Solid numbers for sure, but not eye-popping.  Not to sound like a late-night infomercial, but yes there is more!  Bailey is 6th in the NL in strikeouts, 10th in K/9 at 9.04, and 7th in K/BB with 4.53.  Although his ERA is less than sexy, his FIP is 2.79 slotting him behind such names as Kershaw, Harvey, Scherzer, Wainwright, King Felix, Anibal Sanchez and…that’s it.  This means that Bailey is pitching better than his overall numbers show.  Wins and losses can be fickle beasts, but after increasing his K/9 each year, and subsequently decreasing his BB/9, Bailey is finally starting to live up to the long forgotten hype.

Bailey already has thrown two no-hitters in his young career, but is still underrated due to names like Cueto and Latos headlining the Reds staff, and from pitching in a home stadium commonly referred to as a bandbox.   Don’t let his home park deter you, as he has improved his home splits dramatically this season to the tune of a 2.68 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 79 strikeouts in only 66 innings.  Although his success in the majors was not immediate, the underlying numbers suggest that we have an ironic future stud on our hands; a pitcher named Homer.

Sources:  Yahoo, ESPN, Baseball Reference, FanGraphs

Guest Week: Rick Porcello, The 24-Year Old Veteran

By Shawn Cote (@shawnykid23)
August 6, 2013

If you are like me, and looking with an eye toward the future in your dynasty league, now might be the time to scour around to find some under-valued players you can acquire for next year. One such guy that I have been targeting hard is Rick Porcello. He may have burned some of you in the past, but he appears to have turned a corner this year, and there may be even more to come. Keep in mind that even though he’s thrown at least 160 innings every year since 2009, he’s only 24 years old.

Porcello currently sports an uninspiring 4.28 ERA in 120 IP. However, if you take out two bad starts against the Angels, his ERA drops to 3.18.  His xFIP is 3.27, which shows he may be a bit unlucky to have the ERA he does so far this year.  When digging deeper and looking at Porcello’s peripherals, two stats really jump out this year which help explain the gains he’s made.

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Guest Week: A Wilson Ramos Worth Waiting For

By Kris Karlen (@KrisKarlen8)
August 9, 2013

“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So is the undervalued dynasty player. Wilson Ramos was just starting to be discovered, as he put up a solid rookie campaign in 2011. Many jumped at the chance to draft him last year, believing they found great value, but their plans were soon derailed by an ACL tear that cut his season short after 25 games. A nagging hammy this year, and a platoon with Kurt Suzuki early on further seemed to set him adrift in most fantasy leagues. Why? The injuries? V-Mart, Posey, no one seemed to worry about that. Is it because his name reminds people of a girl band from the early 90s? Doubtful, as no one should remember them. You know what, it shouldn’t matter why. All that matters is that you see what he is, what he can be, and you use it to your advantage.

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Guest Week: The Undervalued, Overlooked Alex Wood

By James Scullary (@JaySkull)
August 8, 2013

When it comes to building a fantasy baseball dynasty, one of my favorite things is finding that diamond in the rough before anyone else.  You know the feeling when you pick up that guy that every manager in your league has overlooked for weeks.  It’s not quiet Powerball, but it’s kind of like hitting the dynasty lottery.

Today we’re focusing on one of the most undervalued players, for dynasty purposes, in the National League East. He’s a young, 6’4” fireballer, and since he’s only owned in 11% of Yahoo! Leagues, he’s probably waiting for you to hit “add player” right now.

This future dynasty mainstay comes with a short but powerful pedigree.  Two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery, he excelled in the tough SEC.  In 2012, he went 7-3 with a 2.73 ERA and a K/BB ratio of nearly 5 to 1 as a redshirt sophomore.

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Guest Week: All Hail Lord Farquhar

By Joel Cicchela (@rotoregression)
August 6, 2013

Ogres may be like onions, but most people wouldn’t say that closers are. They don’t seem to have layers, as most wear their emotions on their sleeves. See Papelbon, Jonathon. But, unless your name is Mariano Rivera, the shelf life of a ninth inning man is relatively short, and in that sense, they are very much like the yellow vegetable.

How do we find a reliever that will last in your dynasty league? Let’s take a look at the stats of two relievers over the course of 2013:

Player IP ERA SV
Player A 42.1 2.34 30
Player B 35.1 5.09 2

These two players seasons look completely dissimilar at first glance. But here’s what is under the hood for both players and comparing to the league average for relievers:

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Guest Week: Eddie Rosario, More Valuable Than You Think

By Jeff Quinton (@jjq01)
August 8, 2013

If I am targeting minor leaguers, I am targeting the Twins 21-year old, Double-A second baseman Eddie Rosario.  While Rosario is clearly not the most valuable dynasty asset, he is one of the most underrated.  Rosario has received love from the Guru on these pages, but I declare that that love is still not enough.  Rosario has a decent chance of becoming a top 5 dynasty second baseman and, better yet, he is not valued as one.  What we have on our hands is a prospect who is victim of two of the most powerful phenomena that lead to prospects being underrated:

  1. Gap in fantasy and actual value
  2. Productivity in “boring” categories

Gap in fantasy and actual value

Rosario will never be a top 30 prospect in any of the traditional prospect lists because he is a tweener–his defense will never be enough at second base to accumulate the wins above replacement of a true superstar.   Even as dynasty owners become savvier in differentiating between real and fantasy value, there is still a bias towards higher rated prospects.

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Guest Week: It’s Time to Pounce on Jonathan Lucroy

By Gary Crenshaw
August 9, 2013

As the MLB enters the grind that is the month of August, dynasty leaguers begin to face reality about the fate of their teams.  Some teams will load up for that playoff push while others will turn their attention to the future and the promise of tomorrow.  A sharp owner can actually do both by identifying players that are currently being undervalued in this great game.  I give you exhibit A: Jonathan Lucroy.

Jonathan Lucroy has quietly become the one of top offensive catchers in the baseball.  His 16 homers rank second among qualified catchers behind only the batting average challenged JP Arencibia.  He also ranks 2nd in slugging, and 4th in batting average.

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Guest Week: The Underrated and Undervalued Cody Allen

By Jason Ramirez
August 9, 2013

In dynasty formats, there’s one player out of the AL Central that is overlooked and undervalued. That player is a right-handed bullpen arm from Cleveland. Selected in the 23rd round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft by the Cleveland Indians, Cody Allen was not known for his stuff or his k/rate. Allen, a starter in college, needed less than 100 minor league innings before making his major league debut. Within two years, Allen had gone from Low-A ball to Triple-A. In late 2012, Allen made his major league debut with the Indians. Tossing 29 innings and striking slightly less than a batter per inning, while holding down an encouraging 3.72 ERA.

Entering his age 24 season, and also his continued rookie campaign, Allen has been downright filthy in 2013. In 47 1/3 innings, Allen has a sexy 11.41 strikeouts per 9 to go along with his modest 2.47 ERA. These numbers result in a 0.6 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). In addition, Allen does a superb job of keeping the ball in park by allowing less than a HR/9. Allen has a fastball that averages in the mid 90’s that’s paired with a dirty curveball that helps keep batters off-balance.

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