June 3, 2010
June 1st is a big date in the Fantasy Baseball World. As TMR alluded to in his article on ESPN.com earlier, it marks the opening of trade season. It is also about the time that you begin to have substantial enough data sets to start forming a solid opinion as to what kind of fantasy impact a player might have for your team. It is around this time that I really like to go find one or two guys for my team to replace that early season bust. On that note here are three guys who are available and worth more than just a look in most leagues and definitely in deeper or NL/AL only leagues.
Tyler Clippard’s problem is that he is playing in Washington and not named Strasburg or Harper. He is a 9th round pick out of high school in 2003 and just turned 25 in February. This is his 4th year with the big club. He holds a k/bb ratio of 2.35, not bad for a guy who is racking up appearances(26 to be exact). He is also a great pick for vulture wins. Due to his role as the 6th, 7th or 8th inning guy, Clippard has been the benefactor of 7 wins. With Strasburg coming up on the 8th, it only means he will have more win opportunities, or even holds if your league plays that category. Now are these numbers sustainable? Here is why I say yes (and yes, I do own him on my fantasy roster right now). First he has a k/9 rate of just over ten. That is powerful stuff right there my uninformed friend. Next, he holds an exceptionally low HR/FB rate of 4.5%. To me, this says that even when guys are able to create some sort of lift on the ball; it is still not squared up, solid contact. Top it off with the fact that he is throwing strikes 63% of the time, and you have legitimate RP filler.
ERA: 2.79 Whip: 1.03 K: 14 IP: 9.2 Saves: 3 – Available in 80.6% of ESPN Leagues.
People like to preach about not paying for saves and this is precisely why. John Axford now has two saves in consecutive opportunities, both in front of former closer, Trevor Hoffman. Axford made his official debut as a September call-up last year. In his short time with the big club he has already shown what he is capable of with a colossal K/9 rate of 13.03. In just 9.2 innings(29 outs total), 14 have come via the K- that’s just under half of his outs. Also, his BABIP is at .312 and that is right around the league average. Based on these numbers (and the fact that he is putting his name in the hat for the closer role in a post Hoffman-era in Milwaukee) I think there are more saves to be had and no reason why that shouldn’t hold up. I say a chance at 15-18 more saves the rest of the way.
AVG: .310 OBP: .344 SLG: .518 – Available in 93.3% of ESPN Leagues
Toronto is no joke this year. They are squaring up on balls like I haven’t seen in a while. 1-9 they are getting solid production. Fred Lewis, acquired after being cut loose by the Giants, has become a fixture in this potent, Blue Jays offense.. In 168 PA, he has 30 runs, 4 HR, and 4 SB. His isolated slugging percentage is a savory .208 right now. Not to mention that over the last 7 days he is hitting an eye-popping .478/.520/.826. With a BABIP of .390 you can expect a small regression in numbers, but not much. Remember, the league average sits somewhere in the middle of that .300 range. Sure he may be 29, but that might just be a combination of being a late bloomer and the change of scenery. If you are looking to add some pop/speed to your line-up, Lewis is your guy.