MLB Week 4 – Waiver Wire Report

Carlos

Carlos Martinez has great upside, but be prepared for some growing pains

Carlos Martinez – SP, St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez has put up three consecutive quality starts and is a hot fantasy waiver wire pickup. During those starts, he’s thrown 19 total innings, allowing just 11 hits and three earned runs while striking out 20. His most recent start last Friday was particularly eye-catching: he held the Brewers scoreless over seven innings, giving up four hits and collecting eight strikeouts. Martinez is just 23, and with the Cards’ successful history of developing young pitching, it’s easy for MLB fantasy owners to get excited. Keep in mind, however, that St. Louis plans to limit their young arm to around 150 innings. Regardless, if you could use some starting pitching the breakout potential here is hard to ignore, and you can make contingency plans if needed as he nears his innings limit.

Juan Lagares – OF, New York Mets

Though Lagares garners a lot of attention with his glove, he’s also gotten off to a solid start at the plate and is among this week’s top waiver wire pickups. In 20 games he’s batting .316 with a .329 OBP. On Monday night, he went 2-for-4 with a run scored in the Mets’ 3-1 victory over the Marlins. He won’t offer much in terms of power or run production, but Lagares should have his share of scoring opportunities while hitting in the second spot of the Mets’ lineup. He’s crossed the plate 12 times so far. If you could use an extra outfielder and are in a deeper league, Lagares might be worth some consideration.

Zack Cozart – SS, Cincinnati Reds

The Reds shortstop has been flexing some power muscles in the opening weeks of 2015, swatting four home runs in his first 19 games. He’s also hitting for a respectable .300/.333/.557 slash line over that span. As any MLB fantasy owner knows, offense can be a serious rarity at the middle infield positions, which makes Cozart all the more appealing if he’s still sitting in your league’s free agency pool. Manage your expectations, however: over the past three seasons Cozart has posted a far more pedestrian .241/.280/.362 line while averaging ten homers. But if you’re thin at SS you can certainly scoop him up if you want to see how long he can swing a hot bat.

Chris Young – OF, New York Yankees

Young is off to a surprisingly good start this season and is working himself into regular playing time with the Yankees. In 18 games he’s hitting .296 with a .356 OBP. He has been a legitimate run-producer for the Bronx Bombers as well, with four home runs and 10 RBI currently to his name. It’s a bit difficult to fully endorse Young since the veteran Carlos Beltran is being given a rather long leash despite his .167 batting average. He might not be in the lineup every day, but if he keeps hitting like this Young will get his at-bats. Right now you could do worse for some outfield depth.

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MLB Sit/Start Report #2

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Jose Iglesias is a fantasy monster, but ONLY if he can stay healthy

GREG POKRIKI – FANTASY FOCUS

– Start –

Jose Iglesias- Detroit Tigers – After an injury plagued 2014, Jose Iglesias has rebounded splendidly. Considering that his injuries were in his legs, the shortstop has shown excellent speed grabbing four steals in the young season. He’s also batting .439 and has four doubles. In his last seven games, he has stayed hot, batting .421. In a packed Tigers lineup, Iglesias should score plenty of runs and steal a good amount of bags. Shortstops are hard to come by nowadays, and Iglesias is a solid one for your starting lineup.

Lorenzo Cain- Kansas City Royals – Cain leads the league in OBP at .491 which is imperative to his style of game. He’s already stolen four bases on the season and scored a league leading 12 runs. Oh, and his .414 average can’t hurt. In MLB outfields often full of easy to find power, Cain could be perfect to win over the more difficult 5×5 statistical categories. Give him a start, especially if you need that speed in the lineup.

– Sit –

Ben Zobrist- Oakland Athletics – Zobrist is putting in a fine first campaign with the Athletics. He’s batting .269 with five doubles and four walks. He also is the ultimate utility man, fantasy eligible at second base, shortstop and outfield. However, he is day to day currently after receiving a cortisone shot on Monday. He is expected to be out several days. Also, over his last seven games he has struggled, going 2-12. Hopefully he gets back to his normal self once recovered, but for now, Zobrist should seat himself on your bench.

Elvis Andrus- Texas Rangers – Andrus is batting .164 so far this season in 55 at bats and just .190 in his last seven games. He hasn’t walked once either, keeping him off the base paths even further. That hinders his chances to steal bags (one in 2015) and score runs (five in 2015). The power has never been there for Andrus either, hitting a career high six home runs in 2009. Currently, Andrus is struggling in all of the fantasy baseball statistical categories. He may be a name you can recognize (and certainly one worthy of a team name pun) but he isn’t worthy of a start with his play currently.

MLB Week 3 – Waiver Wire Report

Don't look now, but A-Rod is only two home runs away from tying Willie Mays

Don’t look now, but A-Rod is only two home runs away from tying Willie Mays

Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees

If the owners in your fantasy league decided to stray away from Alex Rodriguez during the draft, he better not be sitting in your free agent pool now. A-Rod has smashed all preseason expectations, currently sporting a .286/.412/.643 slash line and serving as the main power threat in the Yankees lineup with four home runs and 11 RBI in 13 games. His early season highlight came last Friday night, when he belted two monster homers and drove in four runs to lead the Bombers to a 5-4 win over the Rays. There’s no telling how long he’ll maintain this pace, but you might as well take advantage of it while you can.

Ender Inciarte – Arizona Diamondbacks

Inciarte’s hot start has earned him regular playing time with the D’backs and MLB fantasy owners can expect him to be a daily factor in leagues now. The 24-year-old outfielder put up decent numbers in 2014 but if his early performance in the current campaign is any indication, he’s poised for a significant improvement. He’s batting .327 and reaching base at a .364 clip over his first 13 games. He’s also scored 11 runs batting in the leadoff spot for Arizona. Though you shouldn’t expect much of anything in the way of power numbers, the early returns on Inciarte are enough to keep owners intrigued. As is the thought of seeing Paul Goldschmidt driving him in all season long.

Kendrys Morales – Kansas City Royals

After a nightmare 2014 season in which he hit .213 over 98 games for the Mariners and Twins, Morales has gotten off on the right foot with Kansas City. Looking much more like the middle-of-the-order slugger he was earlier in his career, he is currently batting .358 with a .424 OBP, along with an American League-leading 12 runs scored. He has also displayed some of his trademark pop, hitting two home runs and collecting nine RBI over the first two weeks.

Angel Pagan – San Francisco Giants

He’s grappled with injuries the last couple years, but when he’s on the field, Angel Pagan is useful to fantasy owners in several key areas. If you can afford to get your homers and RBI elsewhere, Pagan should offer a solid batting average and OBP. Through 14 games he’s flourishing in that regard, hitting .321 with a .373 OBP. But where Pagan really shines is in the speed department. Though he’s only stolen one base so far, he should accumulate his fair share if he stays healthy. A return to 2010’s form when he swiped 37 is probably too optimistic, but if you’re in search of steals Pagan could be a promising and widely available option.

Phillip Rivers Looking for the Right Fit

There is rampant speculation that Rivers will not play for San Diego this year

There is rampant speculation that Rivers will not play for San Diego this year

It appears that quarterback Phillip Rivers is ready to call it quits in San Diego even though he made sure to show up for the start of the Chargers offseason workout program on Monday. Rivers is in the final year of his contract and has made it clear that he is open to being traded this season if he can find the right fit.

The 33 year-old QB cut off contract extension negotiations in March and reports have surfaced that the Bolts may try to acquire the #2 overall pick in the draft to get Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.

The writing on the wall is clear and 2015 will be Rivers last season in San Diego, unless of course he ends up somewhere else this year. The Chargers don’t want to pay Rivers and feel that his long-term health is an issue. Many experts believe that a trade with the Titans for the #2 overall pick makes a lot of sense because Rivers would be playing with his ex-Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.

Trading Rivers to the Titans seems like a no-brainer for the Chargers organization since they will be getting rid of a disgruntled QB who only has a few decent years left in the tank. The reason this trade is not inevitable is because the Titans may see more long-term success drafting Mariota, Leonard Williams or perhaps even Amari Cooper.

Mookie Betts Making his Mark in Boston

Mookie Betts is off to a hot start in 2015

Mookie Betts is off to a hot start in 2015

Red Sox stud Mookie Betts got the day off on Saturday, but his recent fireworks have him taking center stage in Boston. The Red Sox pinned a lot of expectations onto the 22-year-old coming into the 2105 season. Betts has shown definite signs of being able to live up to the hype and his MLB fantasy value is on the rise.

Before going hitless on Friday night, Betts collected nine hits including two round trippers in just eight games. He’s also driven in eight runs and swiped three bags, sending his MLB fantasy stock into uncharted territory.

He’ll need to reach base at higher clip going forward – he sports a .273 OBP so far – but we’re still in the very early stages of the 2015 season.

Fantasy owners wishing to evaluate a larger sample size should take a look at Betts’ numbers from 52 games last year.

In 213 plate appearances, he hit .291 with a .368 OBP. He’s already flexing his power and run production muscles at greater rates in 2015 (he had totals of 5 HR and 18 RBI during his time last year), so if his BA and OBP climb back up towards 2014’s levels he will be a far more complete fantasy player.

If Mookie has both OF and 2B positional eligibility in your league, that of course only enhances his appeal. It’s hard not to feel good about his prospects batting atop a Boston lineup stacked with names like David Ortiz, Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.

If all goes according to plan, he should end up scoring plenty of runs and be able to show off his speed and athleticism on the base paths often. All considered, Betts should end the season as a top 75 player.

MLB Sit/Start Report #1

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C.J. Wilson should not be sitting on any waiver wires

WRITTEN BY GREG POKRIKI – FANTASY BUZZER

Start

C.J. Wilson- Los Angeles Angels

Ridiculously, C.J. Wilson is still available in 56.6% of ESPN fantasy leagues. Wilson had his fair share of question marks heading into the season and struggled mightily in his last start against the Royals, but there’s no way he should floating around on any waiver wires. Wilson only allowed one walk in his outing against the Royals and had a stellar first outing of 2015. On April 7th, he pitched eight shutout innings of two hit ball. His third start comes Saturday against the mediocre Astros. Wilson will be looking for a bounce back start and the Astros should be the perfect remedy for his early season blues.

Billy Butler- Oakland Athletics

Butler has had himself a solid start to his tenure in Oakland. In 31 at bats he is hitting .387. He’s knocked in five RBI, including three off a home run knock against the Astros. Butler obviously will not be racking up the stolen bases for your team, but could contribute nicely to the other four categories in standard 5×5 leagues. Thus far, Buthler has strictly been played as a DH, but the A’s don’t have an interleague series until mid-June. He should be seeing plenty of plate appearances and opportunities in an undervalued Athletics lineup. The slugger is available in approximately 38% of ESPN leagues.

Sit

Dellin Betances- New York Yankees

Any person I chose to “sit” will come off as a knee-jerk overreaction this early in the season, so take these with a grain of salt. But, in The Bronx it is obvious that, at least for now, Andrew Miller is the Yankees closer. Betances has struggled with his command early, handing the job to Miller (not to say Miller hasn’t pitched lights out). Betances has walked six in 3.1 innings. Monday he did work out of a jam, earning himself a hold, but not before putting himself in that jam with two hits and two walks in the inning. Betances likely will turn this early slump around, but until proven otherwise Betances could be earning himself a spot on your bench.

Curtis Granderson- New York Mets

Granderson put in a great spring training this year. He had a lot of promise heading into 2015, and I had a lot of faith in him to open the season hot. But, he’s fell on his face out of the gate, batting .056 in 16 at bats. He tallied one stolen base and has scored four runs. He’s walked a league leading nine times, but walks are worth nothing in the standard 5×5 fantasy scoring format. Granderson’s percentage owned in ESPN leagues has dropped over 15% in the last seven days, and rightfully so. Granderson got a day off, likely to get his head straight, but for now he is not worthy of a start and barely a roster spot. Keep a close eye on Granderson over the next few weeks for improvement, but for now avoid…heavily avoid.

 

MLB Week 2 – Waiver Wire Report

Detroit’s Anthony Gose is off to a flying start in 2015

Anthony Gose – OF, Detroit Tigers

The young outfielder, traded from Toronto in the offseason, is off to a fast start in Detroit. He has gone 9-for-23 in his first five games with six runs scored, a home run, five RBI, and a stolen base. Though he didn’t exactly set the world on fire during his time with the Blue Jays (.633 OPS in three seasons), he was a well-regarded prospect and still has plenty of room to improve at 24 years old. Though you shouldn’t expect him to maintain his current pace, batting atop a stacked Tigers lineup should continue to offer him plenty of opportunities to score runs and show off his speed.

Roberto Perez – C, Cleveland Indians

With starting catcher Yan Gomes out 6-8 weeks with a knee sprain, backup Roberto Perez will assume the role for Cleveland. Perez exhibited some solid offense in limited action last season, hitting .271 with five doubles over 29 games. He’s enjoyed success in the early going this year as well, with a home run and three RBI in his first eight plate appearances. His plate discipline can use some work (26 strikeouts in 85 at-bats in 2014), but Perez will now have the chance to show what he can do on a regular basis. Gomes owners or those seeking depth at catcher should give Perez a look.

Jed Lowrie – SS, Houston Astros

Lowrie showed some pop in the opening week of 2015, belting two homers in his first six games back with the Astros after returning to the team as a free agent. That’s already a third of his total from last year, and although you shouldn’t bet on Lowrie turning into a bona fide slugger or anything, he is only two years removed from hitting .290 with 15 HR and 75 RBI for the A’s. With offense always at a premium at the middle infield spots, it might be worth your while to take a flyer on a player like Lowrie who’s still widely available throughout leagues.

Archie Bradley – SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Bradley had a major league debut to remember, limiting a potent Dodgers lineup to one hit over six innings, allowing no runs and striking out six as well. His youth (22 years old) and upside make him an appealing commodity, but expectations should also be tempered. Bradley showed some lack of control, walking four and needing 112 pitches to make it through those six innings. He earned a rotation spot on the strength of his Spring Training, posting a 1.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over six spring appearances. Fantasy owners in deeper leagues willing to roll the dice on a back-end rotation piece would do well to pick up Bradley.

Stevan Ridley Ready to Fly with the Jets

Stevan Ridley can be a difference maker for Gang Green

Stevan Ridley can be a difference maker for Gang Green

WRITTEN BY CONNOR O’HALLORAN

Stevan Ridley has yet to fully recover from the knee injury that abruptly ended his 2014 season, but the New York Jets are determined to have him leading their rushing attack coming into the 2015 season.

Ridley and his doctors believe that the former New England running back will be firing on all cylinders when training camp kicks off later this summer. It’s been five months since his knee surgery and many believe that this former fantasy RB stud can lead a crowded New York backfield.

Ridley’s 2014 season was cut short when he tore his ACL and MCL in October playing for the Patriots. His injury dropped his stock in free agency dramatically considering he’s only two years removed from a 1,200 yard, 12 TD season.

Ridley has always had issues with ball security but if he can protect the ball and get back to his old self, he could regain fantasy relevance.

Ridley joins Chris Ivory as the second power-back on the roster. Ridley will need to establish himself in the passing game if he wants to get on the field during third down situations. Ridley has always had success finding the end zone so there is a lot of upside for the Jets.

At 26, Ridley has plenty of good years left in the tank and could end up being the go-to-guy for Gang Green’s backfield this season.

INTERVIEW | GEEK BEAT RADIO

S ∆ M M U S | OFFICIAL

This past month has been chock full of different interviews. First I spoke with Our Show before my set in Orlando on April 5th, then I spoke with Robert Villegas of My So Called 8Bit Life, followed by an interview with IC student Ian Stone about my tour, and most recently I spoke with the fun folks at Geek Beat Radio. Check out the Geek Beat interview below in which we discussed everything from my forthcoming project to the zombie apocalypse. If you like what you hear, make sure you show Geek Beat some love!

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Adam Lind Continues to Swing Away

Adam Lind can't sustain his current pace, but can still be a fantasy assett

Adam Lind can’t sustain his current pace, but can still be a solid fantasy addition

By Greg Pokriki –

We are only four games into the 2015 season, but Brewers first baseman, Adam Lind, is a man on fire. So far this season, Lind is 8-13 with a dinger and four walks which works out to a ridiculous .615 batting average. You say small sample size? I say he’s setting a precedent of being a MLB fantasy difference maker.

Of course his current pace is unsustainable, but that doesn’t eliminate him from having a workman like season worthy of a roster spot on your fantasy team.

In seasons where Lind has played in more than 100 games, he has consistently hit more than 20 home runs, topping out at 35 in 2009. His 2014 campaign was shortened to 96 games, but in 2013 (playing in 143 games) Lind hit 23 home runs and batted .288.

Lind also had a 2.3 WAR in 2013. In 2009 Lind actually received MVP votes and a Silver Slugger award. You say dated, dusty awards on a mantle over his millionaire fireplace, but this guy deserves a chance.

He’s traditionally had problems dealing with left-handed pitching, but it looks like he may have turned the corner on these issues coming into 2015. If your league is a standard 5×5 league he’s a strong addition, depending on the rest of your roster.

If you’re punting steals or have steals covered by another player, then he’s a good fit. When picking up Lind understand you aren’t signing up for a MVP season, but you can expect a solid bat at first.