Tag:Arizona Diamondbacks
Posted on: June 4, 2012 5:32 pm

Time for a Fantasy Gold(schmidt) Rush

First base is one of the deepest positions in Fantasy, but we are always on the lookout for the next great option at the position. Two of the best Fantasy options lately at first base have been the Mariners' Justin Smoak and Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt.

Smoak (owned 62 percent of leagues) is batting .325 with seven homers, 19 RBI, .378 OBP, .602 slugging percentage and .980 OPS in his last 21 games, while Goldschmidt (owned 61 percent) is batting .353 with five homers, seven doubles, eight RBI, .429 OBP, .676 slugging percentage and 1.105 OPS in his last 19 games. 

Now the question beckons: Which player is worth the flier in Fantasy? After further evaluation, if I had to use one roster spot on either player, then I'm going with Goldschmidt.

My reservations about Smoak is that this hot streak could be just a market correction for him after his numbers were so bad earlier in the season. It's true, he is on track for a career-high in homers. However, his other numbers are pretty much on par with his career averages. His line after this hot streak is .238/.293/.409/.703. His career averages are .229/.312/.389/.701. 

Also, Smoak only seems comfortable batting fifth for Seattle. He is hitting .392 with six homers and 17 RBI batting fifth. He is hitting .250 or worse batting fourth, sixth and seventh, and has a combined four homers and 12 RBI in those spots. Not to forget that Smoak still can't hit lefties. He is batting .214 with one homer and five RBI against lefties this year.

There seems to be more upside with Goldschmidt, who has just 94 MLB games under his belt. It's true that the right-handed hitter Goldschmidt is much better against lefties (.340 AVG), but his splits aren't as drastic as Smoak's. Goldschmidt is batting .245 with three homers, six doubles and 13 RBI against righties. Also, Goldschmidt seems more comfortable moving around the lineup. It's true that he also has his best numbers batting fifth (.328 AVG) as well, but Goldschmidt is also hitting .263 batting seventh and .280 batting sixth. 

I would think Fantasy owners have better luck striking Gold(schmidt) with Arizona's burgeoning first baseman.
Posted on: May 16, 2012 11:44 am

Swing, batter, batter, batter, swing

After a nice long vacation, I've returned to continue my blog and the first entry back will be about Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero.

After a banner year in 2011, Montero is off to a slow start in 2012, batting .267 with two homers in 33 games. The worst part is Montero's 36 strikeouts. He's never been that bad of a strikeout hitter, but it's at the root of why Montero is struggling to begin the year. His contact rate is poor.

Montero is swinging and missing at a career-worst 13.9 percent and making contact at 69.6 percent, which is also a career-low. That's significant because Montero has a .366 BABIP, so when he is making contact, then it's been good news for the 28-year-old catcher.

Everyone is expecting a big year from Montero as he's in the final season of his contract. Usually players in walk years have big seasons.

I advised Fantasy owners to search for an unhappy Montero owner and consider trading for Montero. It seems his numbers should rise once he starts making more contact and his average is already on the upswing in May. He's batting .280 this month after hitting .257 in April.
Posted on: April 30, 2012 11:53 am

Market is open for correction

Two of the biggest surprises of the first month of the season have been Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Saunders and Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse. Undrafted in many Fantasy formats, Saunders and Lohse are both top 20 Fantasy pitchers in both Head-to-Head and Rotisserie formats. Lohse is even second behind Jake Peavy in both formats heading into Week 5 (April 30-May 6).

But the question every Fantasy owner is asking: Will it last?

And while it certainly doesn't seem like I'm going out on a limb here by saying no because both pitchers have spotty track records. The numbers show both pitchers have been very lucky early on.

Saunders has a .214 BABIP and Lohse is even better at .208. That is well below the norm, which is .290-.300. If they were closer to that median, then it would be worth getting excited over. Unfortunately, it looks as though both players will be headed for market corrections, so you can either ride the hot streaks until they cool off or sell high and grab a buy-low candidate that hasn't hit their stride yet.

It's also worth pointing out tha Saunders' opponents this year have been the Padres, Pirates, Braves and Marlins. San Diego, Pittsburgh and Miami have the three worst team batting averages in the NL.

Lohse has faced the the Marlins, Reds (twice), Pirates and Brewers. All of those teams are hitting .240 or worse, which ranks in the bottom seven in the NL.

Don't get me wrong. I feel Lohse and Saunders are both viable Fantasy arms, but as back-of-the-rotation options. Not the front-leading arms they have been through April.  
Posted on: April 17, 2012 6:38 pm

Minor happenings

-I'm keeping tabs on the right-field situation in Houston. Brian Bogusevic has gotten off to a less-than inspiring start, while prospect Fernando Martinez is tearing up Triple-A pitching. Remember, F-Mart was a top prospect in the Mets' system for years, but he was plagued by injury. He gets a fresh start with the Astros, and if he is recalled, then he heads to a hitter-friendly park. We might finally see what the scouts have been talking about for years, if Martinez can stay healthy and eventually join the big-league roster.

-Another outfield situation to monitor is on the North Side of Chicago. Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd is off to an awful start in 2012 and Chicago fans will surely be clamoring for prospect Brett Jackson's promotion. However, we shouldn't expect a knee-jerk decision from Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who usually likes to give players a full year at Triple-A. Jackson did appear in 48 games at Triple-A last season, which could speed up his progression to the majors. To be conservative, I'd expect a mid-summer promotion, especially if Byrd keeps sliding and Jackson keeps surging like he has to begin the Triple-A season at Iowa. He has a .393 OBP, .532 slugging percentage and .925 OPS in 11 games.

-I can't wait until Tyler Thornburg becomes a Fantasy relevant player. This kid continues to impress me with everyone outing. His latest effort consisted of 7 1/3 perfect frames. Thornburg has a 2.32 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings in 178 1/3 minor-league innings. The scouts like Thornburg, but have some concerns, especially about his durability and command because of his unique delivery. Thornburg could end up in the bullpen down the road, which will scare off some long-term keeper owners. But I sure hope Thornburg overcomes those issues because it looks like he has the potential to be a high-end Fantasy option at the current pace he is progressing.

-Marlins prospect Jose Fernandez has piqued my interest with a fast start to his pro career. The 2011 first-round pick owns a 1.64 ERA, .139 opponents' batting average and 18 strikeouts in 11 innings in his first two starts for Class A Greensboro. Fernandez has a fastball that can reach the high-90s. He also has a plus curveball and slider, and he's working on adding a changeup to his arsenal. If Fernandez shows the same dominance he has a few starts into his pro career, then we will be talking about him plenty down the road.

-Another 2011 first-round pick I can't wait to see develop is Red Sox prospect Matt Barnes. The former UConn ace (Go Huskies!) has opened his pro career at Class A Greenville with 10 scoreless innings. He's allowed just three hits in that span, while striking out 16. Most impressively is that no left-handed hitter has gotten a hit off the right-hander and he's struck out 12 of 16 left-handed batters he's faced. If Barnes continues to dominate, then he has the pedigree to move quickly through the minors.

-One guy who probably won't move quickly since he was a high school draftee, but nonetheless impressive, is Diamondbacks' 2011 first-round pick Archie Bradley. The 19-year-old hurler has a 1.12 ERA and 0.75 WHIP in three starts for Class A South Bend. He also has 22 strikeouts in 16 innings. The scouts are already raving about this kid. He seems advanced for his age, but don't be surprised if Arizona handles him with kiddie gloves. They are plenty of quality arms in its rotation right now and plenty of quality prospects further along than Bradley. The Diamondbacks will make sure to build up his strength and stamina, so Bradley is likely a few years away from the majors.
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