Posts tagged ‘Mike Siano’

Sunday: 04.17.2011

Trolling the Wire: Week 3 Monday-Friday

Spotty internet access as I awaited my setup to be transferred from my old apartment made for a spotty and abbreviated version of what I intend to become a weekly staple with the spot starter recommendations.  In a moment, I will unveil the list of week three recommendations as well as how the week two pickups performed, but first a bit more about the goal behind these recommendations.

The idea is that there is enough useful pitching on the waiver wire of a large swath of leagues (generally, 10-14 team mixers) that you can play the matchups with one or two spots in the backend of your rotation and get some very quality work out the spots instead of sticking it out with a run of the mill third or fourth starter.

Cory Schwartz and Mike Siano over MLB.com’s Fantasy 411 popularized the phrase “pitch or ditch” for this strategy.  You will also hear it called streaming or spot starting.  I am not for a second pretending like I created this strategy, I am merely offering my solutions on the best way to maximize it.  Let’s see how last week’s picks worked out:

Not too bad on the whole as only one of the nine gave up more than three runs (Brandon Beachy) and he softened the blow by striking out eight.  Of course he had to make up for Jeff Francis’ lame one strikeout in six and a third innings of work.  If there is one thing that sticks out as less than desirable, it’s the two wins in nine starts, but you can’t chase wins and a lot of these are available because they aren’t on the high profile teams that would generally be more conducive to wins.

Who’s on tap for week 3?

MONDAY:

Chris Tillman (BAL v. MIN) – He has had an uneven start to the season with a dominating six inning no-hit effort against Tampa Bay followed by two poundings at the hands of the Tigers and Yankees.  The best medicine is a shot against the league’s worst offense in the midst of getting used to being without their best player.  They weren’t very good with Joe Mauer and it would be quite a shock if they were without him.

Travis Wood (CIN v. PIT)Wood’s skills have remained intact from last year which is to say they are pretty good and facing the anemic Pirates should only accentuate them.  The fly in his ointment remains a severe flyball rate in a terrible park for such an affliction.  He was extremely lucky when it came to home runs last year (6.3 HR/FB) and he’s been even luckier this year (4.5%) so while I like him in this favorable matchup, I wouldn’t stick with him beyond that.

TUESDAY:

Jonathon Niese (NYM v. HOU) – A 3.0 strikeout-to-walk ratio powered by nearly eight strikeouts per game coupled with a 51% groundball rate is enough for me to remain optimistic in Niese despite a 6.88 ERA.  He is getting tagged by a 56% LOB% and 14% HR/FB rate so a date with the lowly Astros is welcomed by Niese and owners of his services.  Depending on who you cut for him, this may be someone to hang onto going forward.

Phil Coke (DET @ SEA) – Through two starts totaling 13.7 innings, Coke has allowed just two runs.  The six hits allowed are definitely a plus while the six walks are neither good nor bad.  In his debut start against Kansas City, he struck out seven, but followed that up with just two in seven innings against Oakland.  So we are left wondering what kind of strikeout capability he will offer as a starter.  The Mariners strikeout 2nd-most in the American League, but they are also tied for the most walks in baseball.  It’s a terrible lineup in a favorable park, so Coke should be a nice play here (and in his next start when he draws the Mariners at home).

WEDNESDAY:

Bud Norris (HOU @ NYM) – He worked out well last week so let’s hit the well again.  He has improved start to start and posted strikeout totals of 7-6-7 in the process.  This is a very talented young arm who could become a permanent asset for fantasy owners sooner than later.

Philip Humber (CHW @ TB) – Picking on the Rays again who Humber already thwarted back on April 9th allowing a run in six innings with four strikeouts en route to a win.  This is purely a hot streak/matchup play as I don’t like Humber much going forward.

THURSDAY:

Brandon McCarthy (OAK @ SEA) – To drive home the point about not chasing wins, the A’s will face Felix Hernandez during this start, but I still really like McCarthy.  Like Norris, he has improved start to start (all of which came against teams much better than Seattle) yet his ownership rate remains very low.  He could definitely become a long-term hold going forward so you might want to his secure his services sooner than later if you have the spot available.

Chris Capuano (NYM v. HOU) – He just can’t stay this unlucky, especially against a bad team like the Astros.  He’s getting groundballs and strikeouts while limiting walks, but his BABIP is nearly .400 (.385) and over 20% of his flyballs have left the yard leaving him with an ugly 61% LOB%.  Those numbers begin their correction with this start.

FRIDAY:

Fausto Carmona (CLE @ MIN) – Many of you may know that I’m not a fan of Carmona at all, but he’s done some impressive work in his last two starts (v. BAL, @LA) against better teams than the Twins including 11 strikeouts over 14.7 innings which is high for him.  He’s still inducing a crapton of groundballs, too.  He gets hot in stretches and after a horrific Opening Day starts (10 ER in 3 IP) he’s allowed four runs in 21.7 innings (the other start was against BOS), so ride the wave.

Jo-Jo Reyes (TOR v. TB)Even with a small sample size, his .438 BABIP is kind of unbelievable.  It has definitely fueled his 6.75 ERA, but I like that he’s still striking out nearly a batter per inning (12 in 13.3 IP) and maintaining a 1:1 groundball/flyball ratio.  I hate to keep picking on Tampa Bay, but until they get Evan Longoria back and/or sort out their lineup woes, it will continue to happen.

I will give out the Saturday and Sunday picks midweek as those are going to be the repeat starters and I’d like to see the first starts of those guys before making another decision on them.   Plus it guards against injury that may occur in those initial starts.

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Saturday: 06.12.2010

Baseball by Paul 6/12/10 Show Notes

Here are the show notes from the Saturday, June 12th episode:

Trolling the Wire Pickup

Jason Hammel, SP, Colorado Rockies – He has been EXCELLENT in his last four starts and in five of six since returning from the disabled list. Now might be the last chance to get him as he owned the Toronto Blue Jays tonight going eight shutout innings allowing just three hits and walking three others while striking out six. Taking out his May 21st start at Kansas City, Hammel is 4-0 with a 1.57 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in his 34 innings with 7.6 K/9 and a 3.6 K/BB ratio. Even leaving the start in only takes his ERA to 2.41 and actually lowers his WHIP a tick to 1.07 while the K/BB ratio also moves up slightly to 3.9.

He was solid in 2009, though mostly an NL only play with a 4.33 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 176.2 innings. He had a huge home/road split going 3-3 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 81.2 innings at Coors Field while putting together a 7-5 record with a 3.13 ERA and 1.19 WHIP on the road.

The oddest thing about the severe split was that his strikeout-to-walk rate was significantly better at home. This year, he has reversed the split statistically with the better record, ERA and WHIP at home, but the better strikeout-to-walk ratio on the road. That said, he is pitching well enough that I would start him anywhere right now. Last year, avoiding Coors was the right play, but there isn’t enough data to buy into a home/road split with Hammel right now. He’s proven he can pitch on the road and this year he appears to have corrected the home woes making him a full-time option in deeper mixed league formats as well as all NL-Only leagues.

The Minor Leaguer Strategy

Some of the strategies I will discuss on this show include one I learned from Mike Siano of MLB Network’s Fantasy 411 show. He brought it up last year and what he does is picks up a hot minor leaguer on Thursday when fewer teams are playing and just holds the guy through the weekend in hopes of him getting called up. If he’s not called up by the new week’s deadline, he cuts ties and tries it again next week. This landed him Tommy Hanson in one of his league’s last year and Mike Stanton this year. Employing the strategy would’ve also gotten you Carlos Santana and Buster Posey, too.

In both cases, the young catchers received what essentially boils down to votes of non-confidence. Their front offices said they were still working on important aspects of their game and would not be called up all that soon. And in both cases, they were called up shortly thereafter. Posey came on a Saturday in late May and Santana was called up just yesterday on a Friday. Now in any only league with a reserve or keeper list, neither of these guys would be found on the wire, but they were available in a lot of mixed leagues because the roster spot was too precious to hold open for them.

The next players I would recommend trying this strategy with are Pittsburgh’s Pedro Alvarez and Philly’s Dominic Brown. Pittsburgh knows the future is now and their lineup is already chocked full of youngsters especially after they recently called up Jose Tabata and Brad Lincoln. Alvarez can’t be far off. He’s has a .291/.378/.551 triple slash line with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs. Andy LaRoche just doesn’t appear to be as good as his minor league numbers suggested. He’s hitting .240 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 167 ABs so there is no reason for him to block Alvarez much longer.

Brown is a bigger gamble because he is only in AA right now, but so was Stanton. Brown is hitting .311/.381/.568 with 10 home runs, 36 RBIs and 9 stolen bases in 190 at-bats so far. When you add that to his 37 games at AA last year, he’s hitting .297/.376/.472 with 13 bombs, 56 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 337 at-bats. At the very least, he seems ready for a promotion to AAA. But with the Phillies struggling to get any consistency at the dish and Raul Ibanez a major part of those problems, it wouldn’t be farfetched to see the Phils promote Brown to the majors. After all, there is very little chance that Jayson Werth will be resigned next year and Brown is the heir apparent. Perhaps they could play together for three and a half months before the baton is passed entirely.

Jason Castro is another name that leapt to mind. Houston is awful. Their catching situation is awful and it’s about time they infuse some young talent into their team.

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