Fantasy Baseball The Week That Was: July 8
Glenn Colton takes an in-depth look at the past week of the MLB season and goes over how everything turned out for fantasy baseball owners.
Dylan Cease: Dylan Cease made his major league debut this week and got himself a win. On the day, Cease went five innings giving up 3 runs and striking out six. Much of what you saw was as advertised: Cease throws gas (almost 97mph on average); was a bit wild walking four in the outing; and showed his impressive four-pitch repertoire. All that said, the key for me is how Cease recovered from a bad first inning to settle in, keep his team in the game and get himself and his team a win. Indeed, despite a very wild first inning no doubt fueled by nerves, Cease ended the game with more than 60% of his first pitches being strikes. While it is far from a sure thing, Cease looks to me like a guy who had nothing left to prove in the minors and who will thrive in the major leagues. The rewards could be high so take the risk!
Colin Poche: Colin Poche was dealing on Wednesday tossing two perfect innings while striking out five. Since coming up to the show, Poche has 23 strikeouts in just over 15 MLB innings. If you combine minors and majors this year, Poche has 71 strikeouts in under 43 innings. That is dealing! The advanced metrics back up the K numbers. For example, Poche has a gaudy MLB 22% swinging strike rate and an even more ostentatious chase rate of almost 45%. Yes, 45%! Will Poche close? Maybe. Will he post strong ratios and a good helping of strikeouts? It sure looks that way! Buy.
Jose Urquidy: Speaking of pitchers with gaudy minor league numbers, Jose Urquidy surely qualifies. In 76.2 innings, Urquidy has mowed down 104 hitters. That is setting them up and sitting them down. His first MLB start was a bit shaky but Houston plans to keep him in the rotation. Given that Houston seems to know pitching, will win games and has a bullpen to bail out Urquidy when or if necessary, Urquidy is a worthy add. Oh, and if you need more ammunition, consider that Urquidy posted over a 16% swing strike rate to support his minor league K numbers. [Note: after I wrote this but before publishing, Urquidy had a bad Sunday outing. It is worrisome but could reduce the price for a high upside K pitcher].
Kole Calhoun : Kole Calhoun hit his 19th dinger of the year Friday. On the day, Kole was 2-4 with a run and two RBI to go along with that dinger. What is significant is that 19 dingers is what Kole hit all year in 2017 and all year in 2018. Juiced ball or not, the power has clearly increased. That said, he is still a buy low candidate. Folks will focus on the low .238 batting average. You should focus on the depressed BABIP, very low soft contact rate, reduced chase rate and solid line drive rate. Hitting in front of (or sometimes right after) Trout and Ohtani should yield Calhoun plenty of chances to score runs and drive them in. Buy.
Ariel Jurado : Last week we wrote: “Ariel Jurado pitched very well Thursday tossing seven shutout innings while striking out four. On the year, Jurado boasts an ERA under 4.00. Can he continue to provide quality innings? I would not count on it. Here are some of my concerns: Jurado strikes out fewer than six and a half per nine innings; he has a swinging strike rate under 8%; has an xFIP that is almost a run higher than his ERA; Texas will become an even worse place for pitchers as the summer wears on; and hitters have posted a hard hit rate of over 40% against him. With games this upcoming week against Mike Trout , Shohei Ohtani and the Angels followed by a date with the Twins, selling or benching Jurado is the only play.” Well, I hope you listened and benched Jurado. Against the Angels, Jurado gave up six runs in six innings (including two dingers) to take the loss. The Angels were making strong contact in that outing as Jurado’s soft contact number was under 20% for the game. I would continue to stay away. You have been warned again!
Finally, the moment you have been waiting for (sort of) -- Schultz says: “Longtime readers of The Week That Was (dating back to those years when we were on some other web site whose name I can never remember) may be aware that The Overlord and Schultz are rarely co-owners of a fantasy sports franchise. (This may or may not have anything to with a lengthy debate as to whether William Green should be taken over Jamal Lewis). However, this does not mean your humble narrator refrains from seeking advice from a member of the FSTA Hall of Fame.
Schultz will now summarize a pre-auction discussion that was not conducted this concisely. Trust me, the specifics would not assist the narrative.
Overlord: "No brainer. Posey."
32-year-old Buster Posey is hitting .255 with 3 HR and 22 RBI and scored only 23 runs. 24-year-old Franmil Reyes is hitting only .252 and driven in 42. However, his 25 homers means he has driven himself in more times than Posey has driven in his entire team and has crossed the plate on his own home runs more than Posey has scored all year.
Response: Fair points and no doubt, Reyes has outperformed Posey. That said, my preference for Posey was not only based on positional scarcity but also the dramatic uncertainty regarding playing time in the Padres outfield. Yes, with the benefit of hindsight, we all know Franchy Cordero got hurt, Manuel Margot gets benched way too much despite being far and away the best fielder and Josh Naylor and Travis Jankowski have been non-factors. However, we did not know these things back in March! [Oh, and Jamaal Lewis ran for 2,000 yards in that year referenced by the Baron of the Bottom of the Page!]