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The Wire Troll: Tommy Kahnle Racking up the Ks

June 4, 2017 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Tommy Kahnle is dominating for the Chicago White Sox.
Tommy Kahnle has emerged as one of the top non-closing options. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. June has arrived, so your race is now on in earnest. Work the wire!

This week, Jacoby Ellsbury — currently out with a concussion — has been shut down from any baseball activities because of headaches; Brandon Phillips apparently believes his No. 4 should have been taken out of circulation in Cincy; and Jorge Soler still can’t get a foothold in the bigs, farmed out by KC on Saturday.

And now on to this week’s Fantasy baseball waiver wire recommendations…

Tommy Kahnle, RP, Chicago White Sox (ESPN: 6.2 per cent; CBS: 8 per cent): A couple of years ago, Kahnle got some Fantasy love from us when he briefly had a chance to close in Colorado before almost immediately working his way out of the role. Well, he’s really come into his own since putting on White Sox. Last year, Kahnle improved his walk rate (although it was still unacceptably high), but this year, he’s taken that to a whole new level, combining it with unhittable stuff to become a top setup option. If David Robertson gets dealt, Kahnle looks poised to close. Just don’t ask him to say anything intelligent in an interview (see video below).

Eric Young Jr., OF, Los Angeles Angels (ESPN: 1.7 per cent; CBS: 4 per cent): This journeyman is back in the bigs, earning the call for his fifth team thanks to Mike Trout going down. So far, Young has really taken advantage of his opportunity, hitting safely in four of five games, with three multi-hit efforts. He swiped two bags in his season debut, so hopefully the conservative Angels will keep letting him run, as that’s where his value lies.

Max Moroff, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates (ESPN: unowned; CBS: unowned): Just recalled from Triple-A, Moroff is someone to track in deep single-league formats. He struck out in his only two plate appearances last year, but is getting a bit more of a look this season, coming through with his first career hit and ribbie. What intrigues us is how big a jump Moroff has taken at Triple-A this year, proving he deserves a longer audition in the bigs based on his excellent on-base skills.

Dylan Cozens, OF, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: unowned; CBS: 4 per cent): This is a forward-looking pick, as Cozens — already on the 40-man roster — should get a shot in Philadelphia by August. The Phillies’ minor league co-hitter of the month for May, he shook off a slow April by batting .330 with four doubles, three triples, nine dingers and 26 RBI last month. You may recall that Cozens bashed 40 homers at Double-A last year, and now, earning his first taste of Triple-A action, he’s not hitting as well, but as indicated, he’s heading in the right direction now. Another month or so of that kind of production will have him knocking on the door.

Ben Lively, SP, Philadelphia Phillies (ESPN: 0.7 per cent; CBS: 5 per cent): Lively sure looked sharp in his MLB debut Saturday, earning the win with seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball against the Giants. Think Lively will stick around? Well, the last time a Phillies’ starter earned a win was April 27, so, yes, we suspect he’s earned himself some rope with this performance.

Taylor Motter, 2B, Seattle Mariners (ESPN: 4.7 per cent; CBS: 14 per cent): Jean Segura (ankle) could be out two months, leaving Motter — who will likely soon qualify at SS — with a clear path to PT for the foreseeable future. Motter tends to tinker with his mechanics a lot, but he seems to have found something that works now, delivering an RBI single Tuesday, another hit on Thursday and then a grand salami with a walk and two runs on Friday. He offers some pop and a bit of speed, so if he can start hitting for a better average, he’ll be a nice asset for the next several weeks.

Magneuris Sierra, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: 0.7 per cent; CBS: 3 per cent): Sierra is back with the Cards, and while he may not be there long (he’s taking the spot of Jedd Gyorko, currently on paternity leave), all he does is keep hitting. Sierra has hit safely in all eight games of his career, which ties the longest such streak by a Cardinal since 1900. Sierra definitely seems to be on the fast track, playing just 20 games in High-A before his promotion to Double-A (where he’s played all of 10 games) and then the majors. He could be a factor again before long.

Others to Consider

Harrison Bader, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (ESPN: NA; CBS: 3 per cent): Bader is another Cardinal outfielder that’s putting himself in the picture with a more productive second season at Triple-A.

Trey Mancini, OF, Baltimore Orioles (ESPN: 12.9 per cent; CBS: 25 per cent): Mancini is slugging .515. Who cares if his BABIP is sky high with that kind of pop?

German Marquez, SP, Colorado Rockies (ESPN: 34.1 per cent; CBS: 50 per cent): Marquez’s 4.10 xFIP suggests he’s pitched better than his ERA would indicate. He had won four straight starts before Friday’s stinker.

Jeff Hoffman, SP, Colorado Rockies (ESPN: 7.8 per cent; CBS: 19 per cent): Two Rockie starters? Hoffman was one of Colorado’s top prospects heading into the season for a reason and now that he’s scheduled to get another start on Sunday, it’s time to give him a look.

Eric Skoglund, SP, Kansas City Royals (ESPN: 11.6 per cent; CBS: 27 per cent): Skoglund gets his second start Sunday as KC seeks a sweep over Cleveland. In his debut, he shut down Detroit for 6 1/3 IP, giving up just two hits and a walk against five Ks. Impressive.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy baseball waiver wire pick of the week is.

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2017 RotoRob Top 80 Fantasy Baseball Prospects

May 30, 2017 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Swanson dealt with some back woes this spring, but it’s not a major issue, and he’s expected to take a major step forward this year. He’ll be a big part of what should be a much better Atlanta squad in 2017. The one worry we have here is that Swanson’s strikeout rate rose from 14 per cent at High-A to 18.8 per cent at Double to 23.4 per cent in the majors. We can’t see him hitting over .300 with a contact rate that low, so keep an eye on that. Still, we have full confidence that Swanson will adjust, and after a very ugly April, he was much better in May. He will need to start using the whole field, instead of being such a pull hitter, to take the next step.
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The Wire Troll: Jed Lowrie on Fire in Oakland

May 28, 2017 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Even though it slipped last year, Anderson has always had solid command. And although he had really struggled in his previous five starts, he reminded us Saturday that he’s a pitcher that needs to be on your radar, taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning en route to seven shutout innings of one-hit ball with 11 strikeouts against one of the top hitting teams in the bigs (Arizona). Anderson is durable, and in well on his way to shattering his career high in innings pitched, so give him a look if you need pitching help.
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The Wire Troll: Junior Guerra Almost Ready to Return

May 21, 2017 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Ramirez may not be inducing infield flies at his normal rate, but his K/BB rate is superb and — given a chance to start on Friday, he once again teased us with his talent, which he is wont to do from time to time. Ramirez’s HR/FB ratio is better than usual this season, and that’s likely to correct itself, but if you need a starter, you may want to give him a long look.
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Will the Heat Break Up the Brothers Johnson?

May 17, 2017 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
He missed a bit of time with a shoulder injury, and while you’d like to see more in the way of assists from him, Johnson proved a fine Fantasy asset capable of contributing in virtually every other category (although after averaging nearly a block in January, he normalized after the All-Star break, going down to 0.4 per game).
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