Articles by Watson Leese

A listing of all the articles written by Watson Leese for the RotoWire Blog.

Are Newman and Borland a Package Deal?

Ryan Newman is fresh off his first win at the Brickyard, but many fans are already wondering what the future holds for him. He’s currently 16th in the Sprint Cup standings, but has already been informed by Stewart-Haas racing that he won’t be back with them next season. Despite this fact, Newman has had his share of success. He has 16 career Sprint Cup wins, and is third best among active drivers with 49 career pole awards. After Newman finds a home with a new owner, the next question to be answered will be whether or not his crew chief Matt Borland will follow him. Borland could try to work out a package deal with whatever new ownership group Newman signs with, or he could stay put with Stewart-Haas Racing and try to find a new driver he works well with. If Borland chooses the latter, keep an eye on both Newman and Borland’s new driver at the beginning of next year to see how the change affects their racing.

Show Notes: 7|FRONTS|20

A quick summary of Saturday’s edition of RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today with Derek VanRiper and Jason Thornbury.

Opening Thoughts

Matt Holliday‘s production has gradually declined in recent years with the Cardinals, and it seems like there is a good chance that fantasy owners will downgrade him too much because of his age and susceptibility to injury. If that happens, he could shape up to be a valuable target in 2014. Holliday landed on the disabled list Saturday (retroactive to July 12) with a right hamstring strain.

The Cardinals called up Brock Peterson on Saturday to replace Holliday. Peterson has a .946 OPS and is leading the PCL with 22 home runs. He looks like yet another case of the Cardinals capably filling a spot with a player who nobody ever thought would even make it to the majors.

Aramis Ramirez is expected to miss another 10-14 days but Thorn thinks there are still teams out there who would be willing to give up at least a mid-level prospect to get him after the non-waiver trade deadline.

Jason Heyward is expected to return to the lineup Sunday, and suggested that he could have played Saturday, but simply felt that another day of rest was the better choice.

Fernando Rodney has over 20 saves, but many owners drafted him as a top-five closer this year and he’s failed to return the value necessary to merit that spot. His strikeout rate is up to 12.5 K/9 in 2013 after hovering around a strikeout per inning last season, but he’s once again walking too many batters.

Brandon Barnes had a five-hit night Friday while hitting for the cycle and even though he’s on a bad team in the Astros, he gets to hit in a prominent spot in the lineup. He can also steal some bases, and could be a viable stopgap in deep mixers where available.

Marlon Byrd was completely written off before the Mets signed him this winter, but he continues to produce while working from the cleanup spot and has provided a surprising amount of power including his 16th home run of the season Friday night.

Paul Sporer Guest Segment: Pitching

Patrick Corbin looks like he’s going to go well over 200 innings for the first time in his career this season, but Paul isn’t too worried about him breaking down. Some pitchers are more affected than others by their innings count, and there’s really no way to know how Corbin will handle the increased workload.

Jose Fernandez has pitched well after many people thought the Marlins may have rushed him to the majors. Miami isn’t going to contend this year, but Paul likes the way he’s been handled.

Jarrod Parker had a terrible start to the season, but in early May started to turn things around and now has a 2.88 ERA in his last 14 starts. His overall ERA is still 3.59 because of his poor April, leaving the window open for a slight discount in some trade situations.

Hector Santiago is starting for the White Sox now, and it looks like he’s going to stay in the rotation with the potential departure of Jake Peavy and/or John Danks. He has a 9.9 K/9 as a starter, and his WHIP is down a significant amount from what it was when he was coming out of the bullpen.

Nick Schlain Guest Segment: Prospects

Austin Hedges has all the tools behind the plate defensively, and Nick thinks his offensive production will be serviceable enough to keep him in the lineup everyday and give him value down the road.

Astros outfielder George Springer has shown a lot potential offensively, but Nick wants to see him show some consistency before moving him into his top-10 prospects.

Xander Bogaerts looks like the heir apparent at shortstop for the Red Sox, and could take over the job next season, if a promotion (a la Manny Machado in 2012) doesn’t take place in August or September.

Corey Seager may not stick at shortstop long term since he’s 6-foot-4 and hardly stellar defensively, but he has such an elite bat he should hit enough to project as a corner-infield option. Nick cited the Dodgers’ current willingness to use Hanley Ramirez at shortstop as a glimmer of hope for Seager to remain on the left side of the infield.

Andrew Martinez Guest Segment: AL Pickups

Matt Garza looks like he could be headed to the Rangers, and Taijuan Walker may be the last remaining high-impact pitching prospect to get a promotion to the big leagues in the AL pool, so Garza may be worth a heavy FAAB bid if he changes leagues. Of course, the possibility of landing in Oakland would make Garza even more valuable than if he ends up having to pitch half of his games in Texas.

Alex Rodriguez is set to come back soon, and most people have written him off, but Andrew likes his ceiling compared to other options on the wire at third base.

Brett Anderson is returning from an injury to his leg/ankle, so his arm should be fresh when he starts pitching again. Andrew thinks Colby Lewis will return before Anderson, and can post better strikeout numbers, although Anderson’s home park offers a more pitcher-firnedly run environment.

Returning to the Houston rotation Tuesday, Jarred Cosart had one phenomenal start, so Andrew would favor the lesser known, more experienced prospects since Cosart’s price will probably be pretty steep.

Andrew also suggested a Manny Machado type late-season arrival to the big leagues for Xander Bogaerts if the Red Sox are unwilling to go back to Will Middlebrooks at third base.

NL Pickups

Rafael Betancourt was placed on the 15-day DL on Friday, and Rex Brothers will take over the closer job in his absence. Betancourt had an appendectomy, and the wide range of recovery times means Brothers could be valuable for more than a couple of weeks.

Junior Lake was brought up by the Cubs on Friday, and while he doesn’t really have a defensive position, he has shown some offensive skills in the minors. The Cubs thought enough of him to move him from the infield to center field for his big league debut, and it looks like he’ll see significant playing time the rest of the way.

With Ryan Braun‘s early departure Friday night (the Brewers had a 2-0 lead in the top of the seventh, and he was due up in the bottom of the inning), Logan Schafer may still have a path to part-time at-bats. Although Braun returned to the starting lineup Saturday, it’s worth monitoring his status closely in the coming days as he returns from his thumb injury.

Matt Adams should get an opportunity to hit in the middle of the Cardinals lineup with Matt Holliday‘s trip to the DL and Adams has shown decent power in spot playing time this season, hitting seven home runs in 37 games. Allen Craig will likely move to left field to open up first base for Adams.

Football Notes

Larry Fitzgerald’s YPT bottomed out a 5.1 last season with the Cardinals’ woes at quarterback, but he should return to form in 2013 with Carson Palmer taking the reins. Will there be any discount on his draft day price?

Thorn, who prefers Fitzgerald over each of the following two receivers, downgrades Andre Johnson because the Texans don’t throw the ball at the goal line. While Victor Cruz has a big new contract, he dropped too many balls last season to be considered one of the elite pass catchers in the NFL.

Jimmy Graham went 22nd overall in the Vegas draft, and Thorn thinks that’s too high, even though the gap between him and the rest of the tight ends on the board is huge in a 16-team league.

Darren McFadden fell to the 40th pick and Thorn thinks that’s an appropriate spot for an unreliable running back who still has potential.

Both DVR and Thorn thought Danny Amendola offered value at the No. 52 overall pick. Although Amendola lacks the size many teams covet in a red-zone target, the Patriots’ willingness to throw passes close to the goal line, the potential to be among the league leaders in receptions, and the move to a more potent New England offense provide a few reasons for optimism.

Show Notes: 7|FRONTS|13

Opening Thoughts

Jose Altuve signed a long-term contract with the Astros (four-year deal through 2017 with club options in 2018 and 2019), which marks the first big signing under the ownership group as the franchise continues its rebuilding process.

The Astros have 12 players ranked in the latest Top 200 prospects list, including five players in the top 40. Derek thinks they have the young talent base to make a quick leap (~2015) to become contenders in the AL West, which is shaping up to be one of the best divisions in baseball. Also, Altuve’s new contract gives the team’s young prospects a path to long-term security in the form of a pre-free agent contract.

Both of the Upton brothers were out of the lineup Saturday, and B.J. Upton‘s injury is an adductor strain that could keep him out even after the All-Star break. He’s hitting .177 right now with eight homers and seven steals through 84 games, and has to be considered one of the biggest free agent and fantasy busts in recent memory.

Corey Kluber seems like a pitcher that is undervalued in almost every league right now, especially when you consider that he’s striking out a batter per inning and limiting his walks (4.2 K/BB). Plus, he gets plenty of run support in Cleveland. Derek would classify him as a top-40 pitcher the rest of the season.

There are still owners unwilling to fully buy into Carlos Gomez. He has always had power and elite speed, but at age 27, it seems like he’s just gotten comfortable with the type of player he is. He’s probably going to hit well over 20 home runs and steal over 40 bases this season, and his .823 OPS over the past two calendar years suggests that his 2013 campaign is hardly a fluke.

Paul Sporer Guest Segment

Doug Fister pounds the strike zone when he pitches, and although that results in him giving up some runs sometimes, he consistently pitches deep into games, and is still undervalued in most leagues.

That Anibal Sanchez had a shoulder injury is definitely a concern (especially given his pre-2011 track record), but trading him away will require discounting him, and that may be too difficult to pull the trigger on considering how well he’s pitched outside of his stint on the disabled list.

Paul isn’t buying into Jeff Locke‘s first half, and while DVR has him outside the top 90 on the starting pitchers cheat sheet right now, Paul suggests selling him for just about anything available given the lack of strikeouts and extremely high strand rate.

Hyun-Jin Ryu hasn’t come close to the 30|PERCENT| strikeout rate he posted in April, and now looks like a good time to trade him, seeing as most of his metrics are in a steady decline.

On The Farm: Guest Segment with Jesse Siegel

Byron Buxton is now the top ranked prospect, and he’s a lot further along in his development than most people projected when he was drafted by the Twins last June. He has exceptional speed and is even hitting for power in High-A right now at a very young age.

Even though George Springer strikes out a lot, he has the potential to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases, which Jesse believes warrants him being ranked second on his prospect list.

Bubba Starling was really raw coming out of high school because he played football as well as baseball (he was signed away from a scholarship to play football at Nebraska), but the Royals thought he was deserving of an early first-round selection, and Jesse is not ready to give up on him yet ? especially with reports that he was battling vision problems this season.

Mark Appel seems like he has a pretty fast track to the majors, but the pitchers ranked above him are ranked higher because they have had the opportunity to prove themselves in the minors against professional competition.

Kyle Crick had some shoulder injuries, but has since pitched very well, and Jesse believes he has the potential to move into the top 30 in the prospect rankings as long as he stays healthy.

Dodgers pitcher Zach Lee deserves more respect in the rankings because he’s still just 21 years old (and like Starling, was signed away from a chance to play college football upon being drafted) and Jesse believes he has all the tools to be considered one of the elite pitching prospects in all of baseball.

AL Pickups: Guest Segment with Andrew Martinez

Jarred Cosart looks ready, and will probably be a regular in the Astros’ rotation going forward, but there is concern is his control. It’s possible that he could miss in the zone too much and really get knocked around as he makes adjustments throughout the second half.

Grant Green isn’t playing every day, but Andrew believes he’s still worth picking up in keeper leagues. The A’s have had a revolving door at second base since Jemile Weeks‘ regression and subsequent demotion last season.

Andrew likes Danny Salazar in keeper leagues over guys like Trevor Bauer, especially with his great strikeout rate right now, excellent velocity (100 mph fastball) and ability to limit his free passes.

Seattle has shown a willingness to promote guys whenever they believe they’re ready (Nick Franklin, Brad Miller, Mike Zunino, etc), so it should not be surprising if Taijuan Walker is promoted after the All-Star break. Walker has pitched well in his first taste of Triple-A since being promoted to Tacoma in June.

Sonny Gray has had a great bounce-back season, and he’s worth grabbing in keeper leagues, especially for owners of Bartolo Colon who may be worried about his ties to the Biogenesis clinic.

Andrew wants to believe that Manny Ramirez isn’t of any concern, but all he really has to do is be better than an unhealthy Lance Berkman, and he could see serious time at DH in Texas.

NL Pickups

David Hernandez pitched a perfect ninth inning Friday night to earn the save, and with J.J. Putz and Heath Bell having issues, Hernandez is worth picking up at least in the short term. Given that Bell has already struggled once in the closer’s role this season and that Putz has had trouble staying healthy, Hernandez remains a good speculative bet in the second half.

Joe Terdoslavich could see some consistent playing time in the short term (and perhaps longer) with the Braves’ injury troubles in the outfield. Terdoslavich has already hit 18 home runs at Triple-A Gwinnett this season and at age-24, has moderate upside if he can carve out enough playing time.

His availability is likely limited to mixed formats, but Carlos Villanueva‘s numbers overall and opportunity to take the ball every fifth day with the trade of Scott Feldman this week should afford him some job security.

Juan Uribe is actually having a decent year hitting .276/.349/.422 with five homers and 28 RBI, and he could be worth a pickup for teams in need of production at third base as the Dodgers lack options to replace him at the present time.

Dan Uggla hit another home run Saturday and although he’s not having a great season (he was hitting .199 entering play Saturday), he can still provide some power. He’s less of a drain in leagues that replace average with OBP, but Uggla’s optimal use comes from owners punting AVG, or in daily leagues against lefties and in favorable matchups on the road.

Miscellaneous Baseball Notes

Edwin Encarnacion has 25 home runs now, and although most people were skeptical after he put up big numbers last season, he looks like he’s on track to blast 40 again this year.

Luke Scott always seems to be available (of course, it depends on the league parameters), and he puts up decent numbers, but on a day-to-day basis he’s just too inconsistent to be treated like the same player he was when he was hitting 20-25 home runs in Baltimore.

Football Notes

Seattle eased Russell Wilson into the starting quarterback position last season, but when they finally opened up the playbook, he ranked among the elite fantasy options down the stretch. With Percy Harvin now in Seattle, the quality of the weapons at Wilson’s disposal has improved and things should be easier for Sidney Rice. Rice is going 133rd overall in NFFC drafts right now, and taking him late seems like a better value pick (relatively speaking) than taking Harvin early, especially considering Harvin’s health issues.

Colin Kaepernick is talented enough to create offense on his own, and Jim Harbaugh has always overachieved with the talent he’s had, but the loss of Michael Crabtree is still going to have a big effect on San Francisco’s offense. It’s an opportunity for Mario Manningham or A.J. Jenkins to take on a large role, as it seems unlikely that Anquan Boldin can completely replace Crabtree at this stage of his career.

Thorn believes that guys like Darnell Dockett on the Cardinals’ defensive line will probably be turned loose on the quarterback this season with adjustments to the Arizona scheme, and they should be cheap as IDPs.

Larry Fitzgerald is going 33rd overall in fantasy drafts, and that’s a little low. He should get much better targets this season, and although Carson Palmer is not a hall of fame quarterback, he should be an upgrade over what Fitzgerald had to work with in 2012.

Howard Bender Guest Segment

LeSean McCoy has had a wide range of placements on early draft boards, but Howard expects him to have a nice bounce-back season as the primary runner in what figures to be a multi-back offense under Chip Kelly in Philadelphia.

Lamar Miller is a late fourth-round/early fifth-round guy right now, but that low ADP may just be due to his lack of experience. He may jump up the ADP list between and draft day in late August/early September, especially since Daniel Thomas is his biggest competition for carries to open the year.

Howard believes that late in the second round seems way too early for Randall Cobb to go, even with Greg Jennings gone now. The fifth round seems like a more appropriate slot for Cobb, although it seems unlikely that he will be available that late in most drafts. Cobb still has to contend with Jordy Nelson and James Jones for targets, just as he had to a year ago.

The inconsistency Chris Johnson has shown recently is probably due to being overworked earlier in his career, and there seems to be fewer owners willing to target him as a top-25 overall pick at this point.

Howard suggests that Tom Brady is underrated right now because of the loss of Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker, the likely absence of Rob Gronkowski to begin the season. Danny Amendola seems like a good fit in that system and Brady is usually productive no matter whom he’s throwing to. In many NFFC drafts (a 14-team format), Brady is going late in the fourth round and appears to be a bargain in that spot.

Show Notes: 6|FRONTS|22

Here’s a recap of Saturday’s edition of RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today hosted by Derek VanRiper and Shannon McKeown.

Opening Thoughts

Nationals manager Davey Johnson says the number of rehab games Bryce Harper receives isn’t up to Harper. While Harper wants six or seven games, three to four games might end up being the happy medium.

Josh Hamilton is expected to return Tuesday for the Angels’ series against the Cardinals. He’s always been a streaky player, and Shannon thinks he’s got a double-digit home-run month left in him this season, although Derek suggests his home run distances and ball-speed off the bat may be a sign of a significant decline in bat speed this season. Either way, Hamilton is so talented that it’s tough not to buy low on him, especially for desperate owners.

Gerrit Cole is 3-0 through three starts for the Pirates, and averaged 96 MPH on his fastball Friday night against the Angels. Shannon likes him slightly better than Mets rookie Zack Wheeler for the Mets for the rest of the season, although Wheeler will probably have the higher strikeout numbers.

Nate Schierholtz never really met expectations in San Francisco, but he’s having a great year for the Cubs. He could be valuable trade bait for the Cubs if a contender that needs corner outfield help when the trade deadline gets close emerges.

Closer News

The Tigers designated Jose Valverde for assignment Friday, but the real problem going back to this offseason is that Detroit didn’t bring anyone in to take his place. Joaquin Benoit is the No. 1 option at this point, bu manager Jim Leyland loves using him as a setup man. Shannon thinks eventually somebody else will be brought in via trade, although Phil Coke and Drew Smyly could get some opportunities in the meantime. If the Tigers fill the position in house, Bruce Rondon would be Derek’s pick for the job due to his dominance at Triple-A Toledo.

Of the potential closers available in some leagues with a weekly waiver deadline approaching, Koji Uehara is the best option.

In terms of in-season dollar values, Jason Grilli has been a top-five pitcher (including starters) this season, and with the Pirates contending for a Wild Card spot, he won’t be moved to a contender at the trade deadline as many feared in March.

Even though he’s still under club control for four more seasons, Addison Reed is a luxury that a bad team like the White Sox should probably look to trade. General manager Rick Hahn still believes the Sox have a chance to make the playoffs, but the hope of a rally could disappear before the July 31 trade dealine, especially if the Tigers start to pull away in the AL Central.

Paul Sporer – Guest Segment

Eric Stults gives up a lot of home runs when he misses in the strike zone, but he hasn’t been doing that over the past calendar year. His home-run rate is only 0.6 HR/9, and even though he doesn’t throw hard, he has shown he’s capable of having the occasional big strikeout game. He’s only owned in 25|PERCENT| of ESPN leagues and 32|PERCENT| of Yahoo leagues, but he’s been a top-40 pitcher to this point and should be owned in 100|PERCENT| of leagues with a two-start week including a home start against the Phillies and road start at Miami in the upcoming lineup period.

John Lackey has been impressive this season, and it’s looking more and more likely that his recent bad seasons pre-Tommy John surgery were outliers. Lost in the time missed with the elbow injury is Lackey’s off-field issues including his ex-wife’s battle with cancer prior to their divorce in 2011.

Although he was knocked around by the Orioles last time out, Rick Porcello has bounced back after giving up nine runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Angels this season. As an elite groundball pitcher. he’s probably on the wrong team, but his numbers since the Angels disaster warrant a pickup in leagues where he’s still available.

Jason Collette – Guest Segment

The Rays may be forced to move Alex Torres into the starting rotation at some point with other starters like Chris Archer struggling. Fernando Rodney is still struggling in the bullpen as well, but the Rays generally give their relievers a long leash (dating back to Troy Percival a few seasons ago).

Jordan Lyles was probably called up too early, but he’s matured well and looks like a solid pickup for a few reasons that Jason outlined in his latest column.

Jeremy Hellickson has implemented more slide steps out of the stretch because the Rays’ catchers have struggled throwing out basestealers, and it’s resulting in pitches being left up in the zone. Historically, Hellickson’s effectiveness from the stretch has enabled him to outpitch his advanced ERA indicators.

Pedro Alvarez still strikes out a lot, so his average won’t be great, but he should consistently hit 25-30 home runs, and Jason likes him better than a player like Adam Dunn, whose average will be far worse even if he might hit a few more homers than Alvarez.

Odds & Ends

Oswaldo Arcia has been impressive this season, especially for a guy who wasn’t on most (if any) top-100 prospect lists. He could be a solid pickup in deeper mixed leagues if the Twins continue to give him regular at-bats.

Austin Jackson was back in the starting lineup Saturday night, but he only had 12 steals last season on 18 attempts, so owners should temper their expectations, especially coming off a hamstring injury.

Will Middlebrooks has nine walks and 60 strikeouts so far this season, and could be in danger of getting sent back to Triple-A, although there’s not much more he could prove at that level.

This could be the last time to buy low on Martin Perez for the Rangers, especially with Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm struggling. He’s still only 22 years old, and if he has a decent start Saturday against the Cardinals, could find himself with a permanent spot in the rotation.

Zack Greinke is pitching with hardware in his collarbone, and could be less than 100 percent right now, considering his velocity is down significantly from last season.

Ryan Howard continues to own Dillon Gee (four of his 10 homers this season have come against the Mets right-hander), but he carries a lot of risk for owners seeking to acquire him for discounted power. Plus, the Phillies could be tempted to shut him down early as he’s already playing through inflammation and a possible cartilage tear in his left knee.


Dylan Bundy is now throwing from 125 feet, but he likely won’t be ready for a full major league workload until 2015 due to the time he’s missed this season. The lost time has also reduced his chances of getting a look in the Orioles’ rotation in the second half, and regular starts in the big leagues may not come until after the Super Two deadline in 2014.

The Mariners moved Taijuan Walker up to Triple-A, and even though the PCL is a hitters league, he’s probably better off there than making the jump all the way to the majors.

Brett Jackson, who was placed on the minor league DL on Saturday evening, is nowhere near being called up by the Cubs, and the former first-round pick is looking like a total bust with 77 strikeouts this season in 242 plate appearances (31.8|PERCENT|) at Triple-A Iowa this season.

Andrew Martinez – Guest Segment

After mashing at Triple-A, Lonnie Chisenhall could find a consistent home in the Cleveland lineup now with Mark Reynolds‘ recent slump and Nick Swisher facing a potential stint on the DL.

While Andrew also thinks that Benoit looks like the best short-term closer pickup in Detroit, he likes Drew Smyly as a cheap bullpen addition for the Tigers in deeper formats.

Jose Alvarez is filling in for Anibal Sanchez, and has shown he can strike out batters in a limited role. He can be picked up cheaper than a player like Martin Perez, and will be valuable in leagues where wins are over-valued, although Sanchez is currently expected to return July 1.

Mariners hitters like Dustin Ackley are almost impossible to evaluate because of the inflated offensive numbers in the PCL and the organization’s high failure rate developing hitting prospects.

Taijuan Walker shouldn’t be in the PCL for too long, considering how well he pitched in Double-A, and also that the Mariners don’t want to destroy his confidence. Meanwhile, Jeremy Bonderman continues to hold onto a spot in the Seattle rotation.

NL Waiver Targets

With Angel Pagan and Andres Torres injured for the Giants, Gregor Blanco looks like he’ll get everyday playing time, and should provide some cheap speed and receive an opportunity to lead off.

The Rockies called up Corey Dickerson, and Rockies prospects are always interesting because of the air in Colorado. Tyler Colvin looks like he could be the one to lose playing time, as he’s only hitting .179 over the last two weeks despite showing power.

Jordy Mercer is the starting shortstop for the Pirates now, and he can chip in offensively. His ownership rate is low enough for him to be available as a temporary replacement for Everth Cabrera owners.

Caleb Gindl won’t hit for power or steal a lot of bases, but he could prove to be a decent source of average and runs scored if he wrestles away at-bats from Logan Schafer while Ryan Braun (thumb) is on the disabled list.

Eric Young is getting a chance to lead off for the Mets and could be in position to play four or five times a week. He had 27 steals in 77 games in 2011 and could steal 40-50 bases if he gets the opportunity to play that often, something that evaded him in the Rockies’ crowded outfield throughout his career.

Shannon isn’t completely giving up on Dan Haren (DVR did before the season started), but he got knocked around again Saturday and may need some time to work on his stuff in the bullpen. For owners in very deep NL-only leagues, a low bid on Ross Ohlendorf could yield some fruit as was reaching 95-96 mph with his fastball from the stretch in an effective long relief appearance for Washington on Saturday.

RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today airs from 11am-2pm eastern time Monday through Friday on XM 87, Sirius 210 and on Saturday from 4-7pm. Jeff Erickson and Chris Liss will host Monday’s show.

Show Notes: 6|FRONTS|1

Opening Thoughts

Stephen Strasburg owners shouldn’t be too worried about his injury as far as panicking and selling low. Further, the oblique injury has nothing to do with him being shut down by the Nats last season.

Accounting for the likelihood of a couple missed starts, Strasburg now falls just behind Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Adam Wainwright (sixth among starting pitchers) for the rest of the season.

Matt Harvey is definitely a top-10 pitcher now as well. His innings ceiling is still unknown, but he’s worthy of being up there.

Behind the Dish

Evan Gattis is struggling against right-handed pitching, so he’s not a top-10 catcher yet, especially with Brian McCann still in Atlanta. He still has value in his limited role since the Braves will likely use him against lefties when possible and as a regular pinch hitter.

Jesus Montero is out four-to-six weeks after surgery for a torn meniscus, and the Mariners aren’t sure when the injury occurred. Could this, at least partially, explain his disappointing season?

Guest Segment: Paul Sporer

Brandon McCarthy is out again with his annual shoulder problems, and Tyler Skaggs looks like the pickup as McCarthy’s replacement. Paul mentioned that his podcast co-host Doug Thorburn has concerns about Skaggs’ delivery being too complicated, which may lead to inconsistent command.

Ubaldo Jimenez had another good start Saturday, but Paul, Thorn and DVR are all very hesistant to buy in given the poor recent track record.

Patrick Corbin is on fire, but given the unsustainable 1.71 ERA and that he’s pitched well for the first two months of the season, it may be a good idea (and actually possible) to sell him high.

Thinking about buying low on Kris Medlen? Paul said that he was overrated coming into this season (check out his ADP) and is a middle of the rotation starter at best. Look elsewhere for pitchers that are candidates to rebound.

Given the choice between Jose Fernandez and Michael Wacha for the rest of the season, Paul would take Wacha given the significantly better team context despite how impressive Fernandez has been with the rapid ascent to the big leagues.

Guest Segment: Jason Collette

Yu Darvish would be the first pitcher off the board if the draft was today. Darvish leads all pitchers in strikeouts over the past calendar year.

During that same span, Allen Craig has more RBI than Buster Posey, Robinson Cano, and Albert Pujols.

Hisashi Iwakuma is pitching great, but still flying under the radar in a lot of leagues. He’s also been consistent with 10 quality starts in his last 12 outings.

Over last calendar year, Mike Minor has a top five ERA and leads all qualified starting pitchers in WHIP.

Marco Scutaro is hitting .330 over the past 365 days, which puts him fifth in the majors over that span.

The list of saves leaders serve as yet another reminder that the category has a lot more to do with opportunities than anything else. Collette still prefers passing on getting a big name closer. There are overqualified pitchers in deep bullpens around the league who just aren’t getting shots.

Market Watch

Recalculating the value of Shelby Miller, he now slots in just behind Mat Latos and Cole Hamels the rest of the way.

Thorn prefers Yovani Gallardo as a buy-low option over R.A. Dickey.

Domonic Brown would be a good sell-high if the return is high enough, based on the fact that his plate discipline during his recent surge has remained poor. Most likely, dealing him away won’t return enough value to completely a trade.

Cole Hamels has had some bad luck recently – see his third inning against the Brewers on Friday night, but his fastball velocity is in line with last season’s norms, he’s still missing bats, and there’s little reason to panic (a caller asked if he should cut Hamels to make a speculative pickup on Brandon Beachy).

Tim Lincecum appears permanently broken, and Edwin Jackson, though he’s struggling, looks like a better option at this point.

Wily Peralta is inconsistent, but will continue to get starts because the Brewers don’t have anybody to replace him with. His struggles are often tied to poor command, which is the byproduct of his delivery. Peralta falls off the mound in a big way toward first base when finishing his pitches.

Guest Segment: Andrew Martinez

Gordon Beckham is a risky pickup in leagues where he’s been cut loose given that many players lose their power after a wrist injury like his.

Chris Archer looks like he could take over the last spot in the Rays’ rotation if he outperforms Roberto Hernandez until David Price returns from the disabled list.

Corey Kluber is pitching well, and should be owned in all AL-only leagues along with deeper mixed formats. Including his rain-shortened outing Friday, Kluber has a 26:2 K:BB over his last 21 innings.

Wil Myers will be called up soon by the Rays with the projected Super Two deadlines (between June 11-15) coming up in the near future.

On the Farm

Anthony Rendon is making the transition to second base following his promotion to Triple-A, and could be up with the Nationals soon as his bat already appears to be ready and Danny Espinosa continues to struggle while playing through a torn labrum in his shoulder and a fractured bone in his wrist.

Mike Olt is having vision problems in the Texas farm system, and the Rangers don’t know why. He’s back in action at Double-A, where he homered in his return to the lineup Friday.

Closing Thoughts

Carter Capps looks like Tom Wilhemsen’s eventual successor in Seattle, though it will likely take a trade or an injury for the Mariners to make a change in the closer spot.

Although it was Dale Thayer who had the first opportunity last season, Luke Gregerson looks he’ll close in the absence of Huston Street. Street missed six weeks with a similar calf injury in the second half last season.

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