Kluber Lang Got Some Strikeout Punch
Photo Credit: SD Dirk
Most fantasy writers have no problem recommending players you should go after, but do they really pick up all the players they hype up? I’ll answer for them: no. Here on “Star’s Shares,” we’ll discuss players yours truly has personally invested in. If a player is good enough to sit on one of my three teams, then surely they are worthy of your attention.
This edition of “Star’s Shares” features more pick-ups than ever, thanks to the injury-bug making its rounds throughout the league. This week, we’ll explain why Yuniesky Betancourt isn’t just on a random hot streak, while also espousing the virtues of a couple of OFs filling in for banged-up players. Come and get it bitches.
More after the jump:
The 13-Teamer Pick-Ups
The bros in this tier are the ones many of you will find most useful. The league features just one catcher, three outfielders, and no CIs or MIs. It also utilizes classic 5×5 roto categories and daily free agent pickups. It’s as default as it gets, with one major difference: the innings limit is 2000. It forces streaming and aggressive pitching strategies. This is a league I’ve been running for over 10 years. The league is composed of personal friends of mine, Sons of Roto readers, and a couple of competitive fantasy gamers found on Yahoo! message boards.
Pitching the second game of a double-header Sunday night, Kluber threw a solid game for my team (7 IP, 2 ERs, 7 Hs, 0 BBs, 6 Ks). I ranked Kluber in my exclusive “Tiers, Not Fears” for SPs, citing the strikeout potential he showed last year in the bigs (10.7 SwStr%). He has a nice four-pitch repertoire that can play in the majors, so if he can continue to limit the walks, he’ll be a useful fantasy pitcher in all formats who can help you in Ks.
With a super-aggressive approach at the plate this year, Betancourt is killing it in fantasy right now. Most people don’t think Betancourt’s 2013 success will stick, but color me optimistic. Even though Betancourt is swinging the bat more than he ever has in his career, his swings-and-misses have stayed in line with previous years, so he’s not just going for broke on his cuts. He’s also cut down dramatically on his infield flies (15.4 IFFB% career, 8.0); if he continues to limit the cheap pop-ups and can keep up with pitcher adjustments, there’s no reason to think he can’t put up a career-best season (especially if Milwaukee continues to trust him with middle-of-the-order at-bats). He’s worth owning in all leagues right now while he’s hot and could very well finish as a top 10 player at the 2B position this year.
I had an open DL spot and decided to stash Pineda. With the Yankees’ fifth starter spot in relative limbo, Pineda should have a starting job locked down once he’s ready to return. He may be inconsistent in 2013 as he works his way back from shoulder surgery, but his lethal strikeout potential makes him an intriguing pickup for owners with an open DL spot.
The A’s outfielder got a shout in last week’s “Star’s Shares,” and he ended up filling a hole in this league as well (pause). The playing time continues to be there and Smith is off to a nice start this season (.312/.404/.506). He should be owned in more leagues while he’s on a roll.
The Keeper Krackpots
This is a 10-team keeper league that I joined this year after inheriting someone’s team. Even though it’s only 10 teams, it’s a highly competitive money league that has waivers three times a week. Only one catcher in this one, but five OFs (LF/CF/RF/OF/OF), plus a CI and MI. Saves do not count for shit in this league, which gives it a nice twist. OBP, SLG, K/BB, and quality starts count on top of the usual 5×5 cats. It’s also head-to-head. Of course, because it’s a keeper league, you also take next year into consideration with some of the pickups.
The revolving door I’ve had at MI since Aaron Hill hit the DL has been a pain in the ass, but I’m hoping Betancourt can stick around long enough to prevent me from having to take a shot on another wack option.
The Blog Wars Ballers
Blog Wars is the annual Sons of Roto league. It’s a 15-team roto joint that includes writers from Yahoo!, Razzball, Fangraphs, and others. It’s 5×5 and is a daily league, but includes two catchers, five OFs, a CI, and an MI. There are also five DL spots and daily free agent moves are allowed. It’s highly competitive because everyone in here writes about fantasy baseball and is usually picking up a sleeper weeks before the casual fan even hears of them. For this league, the waiver wire is mostly about long-term potential and it’s not uncommon to see people stash dudes who aren’t even starting. Of course, because of the depth, it’s also normal to see people picking up scrubs simply because they are getting regular playing time.
With Peter Bourjos and Giancarlo Stanton hitting the DL, I needed to beef up my OF corps. Barnes isn’t even a flat-out starter at the moment, but with Justin Maxwell on the DL, he’s getting extra ABs. He’s always had 20/20 ability and let’s face it, the Astros are desperate for offense. Right now, Houston is content letting Robbie Grossman get the lion’s share of the PAs in centerfield with Maxwell out. However, because Barnes has been swinging a hot bat since Spring Training began, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him earn regular playing time if he keeps hitting. He’s a real sly pick up in deeper leagues.
Jason Heyward may be out a while, so Schafer will get a good opportunity to prove he’s not just a fourth OF. Some of you may remember how competently he played a couple of years ago in Houston when thrown into a starting role. Sure his power sucks and his BA will always be a worry, but he can steal a slew of bases. With Atlanta’s offense doing serious work, Schafer is in an ideal situation to provide some fantasy returns (at least in the short-term).
I dropped my full $100 waiver budget on Papa Grande. Why? I only have two full-fledged closers, and if you play in a league that counts saves, you need at least three to stay competitive. In a 15-teamer, having three sources of saves should put me in the top third of the league in saves by season’s end (assuming people stay healthy and keep their jobs). Sure I’m going to miss out on some potential call-ups later in the year, but my offense really needs no upgrades. I’m totally comfortable blowing my wad on Valverde (pause).
In this league, I always start maybe one or two SPs regularly at the start of the year and load up on middle-relievers to hold down my Ks and ratios. If possible, I like to get eighth-inning arms who will save games if anything happens to the closer. Melancon fits the bill on all fronts.