Posts tagged ‘Cory Luebke’

Thursday: 02.14.2013

Countdown to Spring Training: 8 Days – SP Contracts

Only 8 days until live game action…

Just a quickie here. To make any sort of sweeping judgment one way or another about what to do in leagues is always dangerous, it’s never black and white and circumstances change. That’s why you often the first part of any answer in a chat of fantasy baseball questions be: “it depends”. One such area is extending pitchers. It, too, lives in the gray, but I’d say it is closer to the definitive are than other rules. Extending pitcher contracts is rarely a great idea, though it can still be a good one, just one rife with risk. Now before you email me citing your offensive player extension that went awry because of injury, let me be clear that I’m aware of the fact that every player carries risk of getting hurt. That’s just the nature of sports.

However, you cannot deny that there is heightened risk with starting pitchers and knowingly assuming that risk isn’t always a good idea. Even the most rock solid guys can turn at the drop of a hat. Consider these three recent cases. Let’s start at the low-end where the breakdown wasn’t an overwhelming shock if only because of his age. Roy Halladay was coming off six straight amazingly strong seasons during which he went at least 220 innings and averaged 236. There was no way he was on anyone’s roster at a cheap price this time last year, but he might’ve been at a fair price once you factor inflation leading some to hang onto him thinking it was as safe as can be for a pitcher. He was kept in one of my NL-Only leagues for a mid-$30s cost when he’d have easily gone north of $40. We know how it turned out. He looked human for the first time since 2004 pitching just 156.3 innings and posting a 4.49 ERA. Now at 36, he’s going at a discounted rate as if 2012 is the new norm and his previously insane track record of awesomeness is but a memory.

Next up is Dan Haren heading into the 10th year of his career, he too wasn’t on anyone’s roster for $15 dollars or anything, but coming off of his 2010 where he had a 3.91 ERA, he came at a discount in 2011 drafts making him someone who was likely below market in many leagues and could be another guy who you keep just to avoid any inflation in the auction. He’d made 33 starts a year or more for seven straight seasons including 34 four times and even 35 once. He averaged 226 innings during the stretch with an excellent set of base skills. His workhorse reputation led me to say this in 2012′s pitching guide:

He remains one of the most rock solid pitchers in all of baseball with no fewer than 216 innings since 2005 and increasing workloads yearly since 2008 topping out at last year’s 238.

Whoops. A balky back proved too difficult to pitch through and he went just 176.7 innings with stretches of ugliness that led to a 4.33 ERA. We saw runs of the brilliant Haren, too, but not enough to cancel the bad. No one is immune.

And the most disastrous of them all whose retirement actually prompted the idea to discuss this a while back: Brandon Webb. If there was one thing you could rely on Webb for it was innings and good ones at that. He struggled with walks in his second season leading to an ugly 1.51 WHIP, but his 3.59 ERA was still pretty solid and proved to be the worst of his career (not counting the 13.50 in his 4-inning swan song “season” of 2009). Starting in 2004 he went 208, 229, 235, 236.3, and 226.7. All before 30 years old.

Then poof!

Done.

He tried to work his way back, but it wasn’t to be and at 33, he is done.

Just keep these three cases (and many, many more) in mind this winter when you are deciding on your keeper lists. The more pitchers you have, the more risk you’re assuming. Again, this doesn’t mean that you should cut your $3 R.A. Dickey loose or not give Chris Sale a contract for 2013. But start thinking long and hard about extensions to pitchers. How many years do you want to commit to Sale beyond this one? Say you had him at $1 because he used to be a reliever, but now he’s due up for a contract at $5 per year.

Sure, $16 sounds plenty reasonable because he’d sure as hell go for more than that this year in the auction, but now you’re betting on 2013, 2014, and 2015. Just go $6 and enjoy the crazy value this year (assuming he’s stay upright of course) and work on finding the next Sale. How many of your are in the midst of Brandon Beachy or Cory Luebke contracts? This goes double for leagues where they let you out of contracts if they go sour, but charge penalties to do so. Those of you enjoying a David Price contract should be very thankful. It has worked out brilliantly. It’s the exception.

Go back and look through top prospects lists and see how many guys didn’t work out as panned and try to recall some of the trades you made to earn their rights. Again, there is risk throughout our game, but the point is to minimize how much you can incur. Extending a pitching beyond the upcoming year is the easiest way to get a double serving of risk you thought you were ordering.

OK, that wasn’t as quick as I thought. I tend to get going sometimes and end up much longer winded than anticipated.

Sunday: 07.17.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 16 Monday-Friday

The All-Star break made for a really short week in fact most (all?) head-to-head leagues extend the “week” of play through next Sunday which is the right thing to do because assigning a win or loss on just four days of play would be really weak.  If you followed the post-break picks in your league, you are off to a great start as there was really only one bad start out of the seven and even that wasn’t a complete meltdown.  It was Doug Fister‘s four runs allowed in seven and two-thirds with just a strikeout.  Ted Lilly yielded four runs in just six and two-thirds, but he struck out nine so his start was a bit better.  Beyond that, there were several gems to start off the post-break second “half”:

MONDAY:

Chris Capuano (NYM v. FLO) – Remember the days when a 4.12 ERA on the waiver wire would be a godsend and an auto-pickup?  Ah, the mid-2000s.  Now it yields a 91 ERA+ and barely gets a second look, but Capuano has been pretty strong since his rough April during which he posted a 6.04 ERA in 25 innings.  Three blowup starts out of 13 since are what keeps him from better overall numbers, well that and the fact that he had to chisel away on a 6.04 in the first place.  He has a 3.49 ERA in 77 innings since April 29th with an 8.0 K/9 making worth a look against Florida.

TUESDAY: Let us mourn the loss of Tim Stauffer from waiver wires everywhere as his ownership rate has climbed to 83% in CBS, 74% in ESPN and 62% in Yahoo! leagues.  Honestly, that is still too low, but he is on too many teams to be considering for Trolling the Wire until further notice. 

Rubby de la Rosa (LAD @ SF) – If you have been reading the content here for a while then you know I am a big fan of this kid.  He has thrown 96 total innings this year between AA and MLB compared to 110 last year and while the Dodgers haven’t said much about a potential innings limit, there is speculation that he won’t go much beyond 130-140 especially considering he has made the jump from AA, albeit successfully.  That has little bearing on this upcoming start, but if you are in a re-draft league then you might consider flipping de la Rosa as soon as possible.  You might find someone willing to bite.  In the meantime, enjoy his strikeout per inning and incredible potential.

WEDNESDAY:

Aaron Harang (SD @ FLO) – The crafty vet has been great since returning from the disabled list (13 shutout innings) and since his ERA peaked at 5.05 after a disastrous outing in Colorado on May 14th (7 ER in 4.3 IP), Harang has been excellent toting a modest 1.35 ERA in 47 innings with 6.3 K/9 and 2.4 K/BB rates though just a 2-0 record thanks to woefully inept offense “supporting” him.  While he is better in Petco Park, he isn’t a Petco-only and thus looks like a nice start in Florida.

Ryan Dempster (CHC v. PHI) – When you enter June with a 6.00 ERA and proceed to damage it further in your first start (6 ER in 5 IP pushing it to 6.32), you can have a lot of good work go unnoticed because of the massive hole that has been dug.  That is the case with Dempster.  Since that June 3rd start, he has a 1.99 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 45 innings spanning seven starts along with 8.8 K/9 and 3.7 K/BB rates.  Dempster is still available in over 50% of ESPN while CBS (83%) and Yahoo! (69%) leagues are more keen to his recent hot streak.

Derek Holland (TEX @ LAA) – Back-to-back shutouts earns you a look even if Holland’s came against the A’s and Mariners.  He has allowed just nine hits with 15 strikeouts and three walks against the two offensively-starved teams.  The Angels are hardly a powerhouse so let’s ride Holland’s hot streak.

THURSDAY:

Javier Vazquez (FLO v. SD) – Speaking of a hot streak, Vazquez has been white-hot the last month yet few are noticing as his season ERA is still sitting at a ghastly 5.14 in 103 innings.  Alas, he has a 1.69 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in his last 37 innings since June 16th with 7.1 K/9 and 9.7 (!) K/BB rates.  You read right, he has 29 strikeouts and just three walks during his run. This run would earn a look against most teams, but it becomes a no-brainer against the lowly Padres.

Jonathon Niese (NYM v. STL) – He has been a favorite for Trolling appearing five times with mixed results (3.72 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 21 K, 9 BB & 2 W in 29 IP), but he has been really strong the last two months with a 2.83 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 8.5 K/9, 3.9 K/BB and seven wins in 70 innings (11 starts).  He is on teams in 68% of CBS leagues, but just 35% and 13% in Yahoo! and ESPN, respectively.

FRIDAY:

Cory Luebke (SD @ PHI) – Still undervalued & still dominating.  He has been incredible in three July starts for Trolling readers with a 1.89 ERA and 20 Ks in 19 innings and I am going to keep him on this list until he is no longer widely available.  Essentially, he has filled the Stauffer role.

 

 

Thursday: 07.14.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 15 Friday-Sunday

Did you read my mind & pick up Aaron Harang for a spot start today?  No?  Wow, that was dumb of you.  He was the only guy I really liked today, but didn’t have time to post my picks as I was busy with the day job.  As of this writing, he has thrown five scoreless at home against the Giants.  Of course, halfway through the season, hopefully you would be able identify an under-owned Harang against a weak offense in the best pitcher’s park in the world as a viable spot start option.

For those still wanting the assistance, I am here to help so let’s take a look at some picks for the weekend (I’m one of those who lumps Friday in with the weekend, it should be a day off anyway).  But first, we will look back on the bloodbath that was week 14.

Not even the good fortune of picking Harang & Rubby de la Rosa who had dueling no-hitters through five innings and each went on to throw six shutout innings apiece could erase the carnage of Carlos Carrasco’s two starts along with the implosions of Edinson Volquez and Bartolo Colon.  By the way, Colon pitched in Toronto tonight and was dominated for eight runs in two-thirds of an inning.  Mercifully for his fantasy team managers, only three runs were earned, but the eight runners allowed is going to sting.

FRIDAY:

Justin Verlander (*checks ownership rates*… What??? How is he on 105% of teams??  Nevermind.)

Vance Worley (PHI @ NYM) – This kid has been great in his second go-round with an 0.72 ERA in four starts since coming back up on June 18th.  You would like to see his 6.5 K/9 tick up a bit, but it is passable.  Meanwhile his 3.6 BB/9 is inflated by one outing where he walked four in six innings.  He has walked two in each of the other three outings.

Doug Fister (SEA v. TEX) – The Mariners hate him for some reason so there is virtually no chance that he logs a win, even if he goes nine and allows two runs, but the chances of a quality outing at home are very strong.

SATURDAY:

Cory Luebke (SD v. SF) – This kid’s ownership rates should be skyrocketing after each of his starts, but he might get the Tim Stauffer treatment whereby he has to prove himself for three months before he will finally be trusted.  Hopefully that is the case, that will leave us spot starting fans a gem to use every fifth day.  Luebke’s numbers aren’t just built off of his 39 relief innings.  He has a 1.06 ERA and 0.65 WHIP in 21 innings along with 11.1 K/9 and 7.0 K/BB rates.  He is an auto-start right now, especially at home.

Rich Harden (OAK v. LAA) – One good start at home, one rough start in Texas.  The latter was an easy layoff, but I am comfortable trotting him back out there for this home start against the Angels.  The Angels don’t have an overwhelming lineup and that home ballpark always helps.

Jonathon Niese (NYM v. PHI) – One of the unnoticed bright spots for the Mets has been Niese who has allowed more than three runs just once in his last 10 starts.  During that stretch he has a 2.73 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 rate.  His 3.8 K/BB rate is quite impressive, too.  The 24-year old just continues to improve and I am surprised to see that he is on just 13% of ESPN leagues right now.

SUNDAY:

Ted Lilly (LAD @ ARI) – I think he is going to have a big second half.  His skills have produced an xFIP nearly  a full run lower (3.99) than his 4.79 ERA through 107 innings.  He doesn’t walk anyone (1.9 BB/9) and his 6.6 K/9 is pretty good, though a full strikeout under his rate from the last two years.  He has always been a huge flyball pitcher so that isn’t a major concern and I expect him to regress back toward his mean over the remainder of the season.  He could also find himself dealt by July 31st and his destination would play a role in his value of course, but for now I’m buying.

Homer Bailey (CIN @ STL) – Most head-to-head leagues aren’t just going with a four day week.  However, if yours is and you are protecting an ERA and/or WHIP lead, I would pass on Bailey, but if you have all next week to go still he is a solid gamble especially for some strikeouts.  He, too, could be instrumental down the stretch as his big second half in 2010 (3.55 ERA, 9.2 K/9 in 58 IP) earned him sleeper value coming into this season.

 

Thursday: 03.10.2011

National League Pitching Prospects List

This will serve as the 3/10 Daily Dose

It’s time for my prospect rankings for each league and I want to throw out a few points before I get to today’s National League list:

o   I’m new to prospecting.  This is my first ranking of prospects as I’ve spent the last two years getting better at it before finally diving in this year.  Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein, John Sickels, Jason Collette, the BA folks (Jim Callis, Aaron Fitt, John Manuel, etc…) and Adam Foster are all much more seasoned, just to name a handful whose work I enjoy.  I stand 100% behind the work, but this isn’t yet an area of expertise for me.  I wouldn’t necessarily be eager to suggest anything is an area of “expertise” for me, but I’m much more in my element discussing major leaguers right now, but I want to get better at prospecting so it’s time to start ranking.

o   I have seen a handful of these guys live, though the bulk of my experience with them comes from reading extensively and watching video online.

o   There aren’t individual player capsules here, those are all in the Starting Pitcher Guide.

o   The ceiling is a best-case scenario as I see it.

o   The ranking combines the best-case scenario with how likely they are to reach it.  This means someone might project with a higher ceiling, but be less likely to reach it and thus rank below someone with a lower ceiling who is closer to it.

o   This doesn’t slant toward 2011.  It’s all encompassing.  In other words, don’t use it in your re-draft fantasy leagues and get upset with me if Arodys Vizcaino doesn’t throw 120 innings for you later this summer.  It’s meant more for leagues with minor league rosters of any size and dynasty leagues.

RK Player TEAM ETA Ceiling
1 Julio Teheran ATL 2012 1
2 Jameson Taillon PIT 2014 1
3 Mike Minor ATL 2010 2
4 Jarrod Parker ARI 2011 1
5 Shelby Miller STL 2012 1
6 Simon Castro SD 2011 1
7 Jordan Lyles HOU 2011 2
8 Jenrry Mejia NYM 2010 1
9 Randall Delgado ATL 2012 1
10 Tyler Matzek COL 2013 1
11 Zach Lee LAD 2013 1
12 Casey Kelly SD 2012 2
13 Trey McNutt CHC 2012 1/Closer
14 Arodys Vizcaino ATL 2013 1
15 Trevor May PHI 2013 1
16 Stetson Allie PIT 2014 1/Closer
17 Matt Harvey NYM 2013 1
18 Zack Wheeler SF 2013 1
19 Brandon Beachy ATL 2010 3
20 Jarred Cosart PHI 2014 2
21 Christian Friedrich COL 2011 2
22 Tyler Skaggs ARi 2013 2
23 Chad James FLO 2013 2
24 Cory Luebke SD 2010 3
25 Brody Colvin PHI 2014 1
26 AJ Cole WAS 2014 2
27 Chris Withrow LAD 2012 2
28 Rubby de la Rosa LAD 2013 1
29 Brad Hand FLO 2012 3
30 Mike Foltynewicz HOU 2014 2
31 Luis Heredia PIT 2014 1
32 Chad Bettis COL 2014 3
33 Jesse Biddle PHI 2014 2
34 Juan Urbina NYM 2014 2
35 Jay Jackson CHC 2011 3
36 Lance Lynn STL 2011 3
37 Juan Nicasio COL 2013 2
38 Sammy Solis WAS 2012 3
39 Aaron Miller LAD 2012 3
40 Hayden Simpson CHC 2013 2
41 Carlos Martinez STL 2014 1
42 Daryl Thompson CIN 2008 3
43 Ethan Martin LAD 2013 2
44 David Holmberg ARI 2014 3
45 JJ Hoover ATL 2012 3
46 Pat Corbin ARI 2013 3
47 Mark Rogers MIL 2010 3
48 Tyrell Jenkins STL 2015 2
49 Bryan Morris PIT 2011 3
50 Brad Boxberger CIN 2012 3

I’ll be hosting a chat soon to discuss both this and more of the Starting Pitching Guide. Plan for next Thursday, but I’ll definitely post the details ahead of time. In the meantime you can reach me on Twitter or Facebook if you have questions about this list.

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