Friday, April 13, 2012

Gearing Up: National League, April 16-22

Welcome back to "Gearing Up", Roto Think Tank's weekly feature where we take a look at select players based on roster trends in A.L. and N.L.-only Rotisserie leagues. For a cursory explanation of how this article breaks down, please follow the attached link to last year's inaugural piece.

Rising Up:

Barry Zito (5% owned last week, 32% owned this week) vs. Mets

It is hard for me to put a lot into one start, but it seems that 27% of CBS fantasy team owners do.  Zito did silence a pretty good on paper Rockies team.  Of course, that good on Rockies team is in the bottom four of the National League in runs, average, on-base percentage and slugging.  Zito’s velocity looks the same and his pitches look the same, so there is no reason to believe that the results will not generally be the same.  He does, however, get the Mets next weekend in San Francisco.  If you need a starter, this might be one of the better match-ups you will see.

Lucas Harrell (2% owned last week, 10% owned this week) vs. Nationals

Harrell fought his way into the rotation with a solid spring training, and wasted no time justifying his inclusion by shutting down the Rockies for seven innings (notice a trend here?).  The problems with Harrell long term are: a poor strikeout rate and a poor walk rate.  He gets the Nationals next week in Houston – I would still stay away from Harrell unless and until he proves he can get major league players out consistently, something of which I am not convinced.

Ross Detwiler (4% owned last week, 9% owned this week) vs. Marlins

Finally, CBS owners got the right pitcher.  Detwiler is someone to go out and own, particularly if you have a reserve list.  While Detwiler’s strikeout rates have dropped through the minors, some of this is due to injury.  He can get major league hitters out with this stuff, and he is only 26 years old.  Many pundits think this is a break out year for Detwiler; do not count me among them.  I do think, however, Detwiler can be effective so long as he is healthy.  He gets the Marlins this week in Washington – not the best matchup, but not bad either.

Possible Waiver Claims:

The rash of injuries for the Nationals allowed Nady to gain a spot on the roster.  As you know, Roto Think Tank likes players who move the chains.  Nady moves them so little, however, that he is likely not worth picking up; his .461 OPS is a little light for my tastes.

Many were surprised that Sanchez made the team.  I am surprised he already has 10 at-bats, since I thought he would ride the pines.  Instead, the 22 year old is going to catch Barry Zito regularly, and will likely get at least one other start per week.  If you have a hole at catcher, I suggest grabbing Sanchez and riding out what bat he does have.

I feel like I have written about Justin Maxwell for the life of this blog.  It is possible.  Maxwell is now an Astros, and, to be honest, that team is so bad, he could wind up as a starter.  As always, Maxwell carries with him an intriguing combination of power and speed, a combination he has never effectively translated into success at the major league level.  Nonetheless, he warrants “monitoring” status; I am sure Ron Gardenhire has his eye on him.

Mitchell Boggs.

Mike made this point with Koji Uehara, so I will not repeat it at length.  You need an effective, high strikeout reliever on your staff...Boggs looks like this year's work-horse for the Cardinals, and if this strikeout rate remains improved (with improved command), he will be a good cog in your championship run wheel.  See also: Fernando Salas, Juan Cruz.  Caveat: be ready to cut these guys loose if the walk rates spike - that is a recipe for disaster.  I tend to look for the 10.00+ K/9 with K/BB ratios over 3.00.  I will highlight those guys weekly here in this piece.

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