Everyone is interested in adding the new thing. Apparently, we're in an age where stability matters little. Instant gratification is what we want. We don't have money to make our car payment, but you bet your ass we've got $5 to buy lottery tickets. Seems a bit backwards to me. Regardless, that's the mentality of many and it's why I'm constantly inundated with questions about minor leaguers and rookies. To that end, I thought I'd offer a preemptive strike and break down the next big thing on the hill, funny to say given his size, in Marcus Stroman. There's also two situations in the 9th inning that might be starting to coalesce with the Astros and Cubs, so I'll give my thoughts on each situation.


MARCUS STROMAN - READY TO EMERGE?

Marcus Stroman is the next rookie hurler I'm likely to be flooded with questions about. So in order to preemptively strike, here goes.

Stroman a righty who is little at 5'9, 185 lbs.

What did Yoda say... judge me by my size do you? You shouldn't make the same mistake as Luke Skywalker.

Stroman made 20 starts last season at Double-A. He went 9-5 with a 3.30 ERA and 1.13 WHIP. He also struck out 10.40 batters per nine innings and allowed only 2.18 walks per nine leading to a terrific 4.78 K/BB ratio.

In four starts this season, at Triple-A, Stroman has been just as good: 2.18 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 11.32 K/9, 2.61 BB/9.

Stroman doesn't beat himself with walks, and as you can tell with the strikeout numbers he's got a fairly dynamic wing.

Stroman projects as a #2/#3 starter in the big leagues. There will always be questions due to his limited size (think Johnny Cueto), but with a plus fastball and superb slider, he's got the look of a keeper (he eventually could end up in the bullpen if he can't figure out this starting thing, but that's likely years down the road in any case). He's also had his minor league schedule adjusted so now he's working the same day as Dustin McGowan who has been awful (6.88 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 17 innings in four starts). A promotion could be coming, and soon. When it does Stroman is a must add in 15 team leagues (I've gotta a couple of questions about whether he should be added in AL-only leagues. Good grief. He should have been drafted once the rounds hit 20). If you're in a 12 team league, all depends who you drop, but Stroman has the talent to help there as well. Those in 10 teamers... probably can do just as well on waivers, but the wing of Stroman is impressive.


2014 PLAYER RANKINGS

Don't know if you've heard, OK you probably haven't, but we're going to be releasing updated Player Rankings on the first of each month. That means we're just a couple of days away from the May 1st update. Stay tuned. The rankings are coming!


ASTROS BULLPEN

Raul Valdes is 36 years old and you've never paid attention. Might have to change that line of thought now.

Over the weekend Valdes picked up a save for the Astros. The next day he was also called on to record the final out of the game (there wasn't a save chance Sunday). The Astros bullpen is crowded and there's been nothing coming from the team other than the 'we're using a bullpen by committee.' Still, some thoughts.

(1) Hard to think Valdes was called on 2-straight to get the last out unless it means something.

(2) Look at the relievers numbers.

Anthony Bass 4.26 ERA, 1.18 WHIP
Josh Fields 9.64 ERA, 1.61 WHIP
Chad Qualls 6.14 ERA, 2.18 WHIP

Matt Albers has been the best arm with a 0.90 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, but he's on the DL wish a shoulder issue.

(3) Is Valdes skilled? Well, when you're 36 and you've only thrown 140 innings in the big leagues, maybe not? He does throw hard (9.45 K/9), and his career walk rate is league average stuff (3.15). His issue is that he's a decidedly fly ball arm (0.62 GB/FB ratio). When on and keeping the ball in the yard he's alright, but that doesn't always happen (1.22 HR/9 for his career).

Valdes is worth a speculative add if he's on waivers but we might just as easily never hear from him again after a couple of days so be cautious.

A Must Read on velocity from Jeff Passan of Yahoo.

CUBS BULLPEN

Like with the Astros we don't have anything official with Cubs, but it appears that one man has emerged in the battle for 9th inning duties. It's not Jose Veras who is hurt and on the DL. It's not Pedro Strop either. That man, the man to add, is Hector Rondon.

Last season in his first exposure to the big league Rondon was blah city with a 4.77 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 1.76 K/BB ratio over 54.2 innings. This season he's looked like a totally different man with a 0.73 ERA, 0.97 WHIP an a 3.50 K/BB ratio thanks to a 10.22 K/9 mark.

Issue #1: He's not really viewed as a K per inning type of guy.

Issue #2: He's unlikely to sustain his current 58 percent ground ball mark.

Issue #3: The team would still like to build up the value of Jose Veras so they can trade him. Once healthy, does that mean he gets another shot in the 9th inning?

Like Valdez, the smart play is of course to add Rondon. If I have to chose between the two I would go Rondon over Valdes.

 

Around the Twitterverse, Sunday, April 27th

RT @richardjustice: Jose Abreu has 17 extra-base hits – tied with Pujols (2001) for most for any 1st-year player since 1914 in March/April.

MT @BRefPlayIndex: first day in #MLB history 10 SP went 7+ IP & allowed 3 or fewer H (via @JeffFletcherOCR, h/t @jaysonst, @EliasSports).

MT @BRefPlayIndex: #Yankees Masahiro Tanaka is 2nd ever with double-digit strikeouts in three of his first five career games (Mark Prior).

RT @Joelsherman1: Since ’11 among Ps with 400IP, Johnny Cueto’s 161 is 2d-best ERA+ in MLB to Kershaw (168). When healthy, he’s been elite. #Reds

RT @ESPNStatsInfo: Most K through first 5 MLB games- Herb Score 50, Stephen Strasburg 48, Masahiro Tanaka 46 (via @EliasSports)

RT @dgoold: Taveras homers again today. 11-game hitting streak for OT. Pressure remains from below for #Cardinals reconsider bench




Comments

mikee 

I have 16 team points league with 4 backup spots ( & 1 DL) - My question is Morales is out on waivers now and I have been holding Willingham in my backups because i have 3B Zimmerman on DL. Would you pickup Morales and drop Willingham? Willingham wont be back for at least 2 weeks which takes it closer to June & Morales isn't hurt. Or should I drop any of my other backups: Swisher1b/OF, Walker 2b or Quentin OF, With Utley at 2nd I thought I might need Walker. other starting OF Pence, Morris, Beltran, Kris Davis. we must start All positions with 3 of and dh. no middle IF.

mikee 

I have 16 team points league with 4 backup spots (1 DL) - question is morales is out on waivers now and i have been holding willingham in my backups because i haver #B zimmerman on DL. Would you pickup Morales and drop Willingham? Other option drop Swisher, walker or Quentin, With Utley at 2nd I thought I might need walker. other starting OF Pence, Morris, Beltran. we must start 3 of and dh. all positions no middle IF.

mikee 

I have 16 team points league with 4 backup spots (1 DL) - question is morales is out on waivers now and i have been holding willingham in my backups because i haver #B zimmerman on DL. Would you pickup Morales and drop Willingham? Other option drop Swisher, walker or Quentin, With Utley at 2nd I thought I might need walker. other starting OF Pence, Morris, Beltran

mikee 

I have 16 team points league with 4 backup spots (1 DL) - question is morales is out on waivers now and i have been holding willingham in my backups because i haver #B zimmerman on DL. Would you pickup Morales and drop Willingham?

Bryan Shisler 

Ray, long time listener of you and Kyle for FF. First year of FBB. Fun! Team is doing well for a beginner. Question: I have Kluber on my bench for depth and wondered if you felt Stroman would have more upside? I'd be losing a little depth (Timmy L also benched but can't drop - my 11 yr olds favorite player). WWRFD?

Greg Jenkins 

What's the likelihood of Daisuke Matsuzaka becoming the Mets' closer at some point?

Michael Magid 

Ray is Strohman now ahead of Archie Bradley on the keeper list? I have Archie and am thinking of a trade-in. Thoughts?

RB 

Should I drop Wade Miley for Stroman?

Ray Flowers 

Princivalli - I like Kemp, and would like to give him more than three weeks. Deal is OK as long as you know what you are getting. Teheran's velocity is down two mph. He's down nearly three full batters on his K/9 from last season. His BABIP is crazy low at .224. He's solid arm but as SIERRA (4.22) and xFIP (4.09) point out, he's pitching way over his head right now.

Ray Flowers 

George Connors - Mauer is likely to be 1B only next yr. THat will significantly down his value. Hanigan is blah nothing. Lets call Ver/Zimm a wash. So it's Santoa, Kalhoun for Mauer. Can do that. Dont forget you will get to add two guys as well.

Princivalli 

Hi Ray Got an offer of Teheran for Kemp. I'm strong in OF and could use a very good pitcher. I got Kemp late and I'm thinking this might my last chance to get anything for him. Not impressed by what he's shown so far. Is this the no brainer its looking like or am I being too impatient with Kemp? thanks Cliff

George Connors 

Sergio Santos -Toronto rp/verlander/kalhoun/hanigan for Jordan Zimmerman and joe mauer

Ray Flowers 

George Connor - Thanks for chosing to follow my work in your first year of fantasy baseball. Hanigan is useless. Who is Room in Toronto?

George Connor 

Ray-love your work-1st year follower-pls advise 5x5 head to head-3 yr keeper league-need to trade Verlander by season end Verlander/hanigan/room-Toronto/Kalhoun for Jordan Zimmerman and Joe Mauer-thanks in advance!

Ray Flowers 

mark margolin - arhcer, liriano, hammel. Hammel has been fantastic, stupendous, but it's a mirage (no one can be this good, right?). He's a solid arm and could very well have an impressive season, just look a couple years back, but his walks will go up, his Ks arent great, still gives up a ton of homers. .138 BABIP is going to at least double.

mark margolin 

limited sp slots, could you rank these 3 going forward, only room for one, 12 team h2h cats j hammel c archer f liriano

Ray Flowers 

zebeck - How dare you read HQ! lol I'd go - Hutichson, Carrasco, Jordan Keuchel. Somewhat motley crew.

zebeck 

Ray, along with Stroman, I read in HQBaseball.com of several intrguing pitchers: Carrasco, Hutchison, Keuchel , T. Jordan. How'd you rank them? I'm in a 14-team mix with 10 keepers.

jason 

Do I drop Hector Santiago or Ubaldo for stroman? Also I see that Stroman's first start may be may the 4th... nice star wars reference!

Ray Flowers 

Stevie Yo - I dont do any leagues that have SP/RP designation. All just should be listed as P so people can do lineups any way they want. Off top of my head, Wade Davis and Ogando, though can't fathom how they would be on waivers. Ottavino is a much better arm than Torres.

Ray Flowers 

Chris - You can based purely on talent. However, with how well Chavez has pitched you are MUCH better off trading him.

Chris 

Hello Ray, Would you drop Jesse Chavez when Strouman comes up? Thanks

Stevie Yo 

Guys available with 5+ holds this season are Ottavino, carpenter, Thornton, Furbush, Phelps. Current non-closing relievers are Doolittle and gregerson.

Stevie Yo 

14 team h2h points. daily moves. saves and holds both worth 5 points. I have to start 4 SPs every day. i rarely have this many starters so i have worthless spots in daily lineup. I picked up Carlos Torres of the mets because he gets holds and is SP eligible. can you reccommend other guys that might get holds and have SP eligibility? Also can you recommend elite holds guys that might be better than the Farnsworths and Joe Smiths of the world. Thanks.


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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

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