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You're looking for help behind the dish. Do you go with Perez or d'Arnaud? Is it time to drop Ventura for a guy like Carrasco? Who is the real Steve Pearce? Is Castellanos or Myers the young bat you should be counting on in September? These questions are answered in the weekly mailbag from Ray Flowers.
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– Should I drop Salvador Perez and get Travis d'Arnaud?
Let's compare the stats of the two.
S.Perez: .263-15-55-50-1 in 457 at-bats
d'Arnaud: .232-12-32-37-1 in 306 at-bats
On the surface it looks like Perez is the slightly better bet, though of course the overall numbers are skewed by the at-bat advantage he possesses. Let's even the playing field. Here are the numbers the last 30 days.
S.Perez: .191-3-17-8 in 98 plate appearances
d'Arnaud: .256-6-10-17 in 94 plate appearances
Obviously the arrow now tilts to d'Arnaud.
Both men are big time talents. Perez is, despite the recent work, a better bet in the batting average category moving forward. He's also in a pennant race, and that might mean something (always hard to tell with something nebulous like that). D'Arnaud is the better power bat. What does your team need most? Recent production is moving slightly to DA to answer your question directly, but most folks shouldn't give up on Perez – he can still hit.
Ventura will have his Wednesday start skipped due to back stiffness. The team is reporting that it's a minor issue. At the same time missing even a start or two at this time of year can hurt, so we have to be sure that holding on to him is the right decision here.
Ventura is 10-9 with a 3.40 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Those are solid numbers for a rookie, but they really don't stand out at all in the fantasy game. Add in a 7.72 K/9 mark and a 3.27 BB/9 rate, and we've got two more measures that are basically league average stuff from Yordano. Ditto the 21 percent line drive rate, .288 BABIP and 9.6 HR/F ratio. It's all league average kinda stuff folks. Add in the injury and...
Carrasco isn't quite on the same tier, talent wise, as Ventura, but it's not a very large gap. After years of being the next big thing in Cleveland Carlos might have finally arrived. Through 83 innings this season he has a 3.14 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 8.57 K/9 ratio, 2.17 BB/9 mark, .267 BABIP and an 8.2 HR/F ratio. ALL of those numbers are better than Ventura. Those numbers weren't just accrued as a reliever either. As a starter he owns a 9.00 K/9, 2.48 BB.9, 1.05 WHIP... he's been good there too. Moreover, he's in a groove with a 0.50 ERA, 17 Ks, two walks, and a 0.50 WHIP over his last three starts.
I don't think “steady production” and Steve Pearce should ever appear in the same sentence. Let's review.
From 2007-2013 Pearce hit .238/.318/.377 over 743 at-bats. He also struck out 170 times.
In May he went .309-4-12-8.
In June he went .361-5-13-10.
In July he went .231-2-6-13.
In August he has gone .275-4-5-10.
The only consistency really is inconsistency. Another look.
Over his last 25 games he's hit .236 with a .284 OBP.
Over his last nine games he's hit .342 with four homers and nine RBIs.
The 16 games before that he hit .157 with a .232 OBP, no homer and no RBIs. He went 56 plate appearances without an RBI. That's pathetic.
Overall he's had a solid season. However, Pearce is about as inconsistent as they come, and after seven years of junky work it's pretty hard to be overly excited about his prospects for the month of September.
Castellanos, who I think I last got a question about three months ago, has been a solid rookie producer, but as I say repeatedly when asked about rookies each year, solid “rookie” production isn't necessarily up to the level of fantasy worthiness. Through 418 at-bats Nick has hit .263 with 10 homers, 55 RBIs and 40 runs scored. Again, not bad at all for a first year player. Blah city in fantasy however. He's only taken 30 walks all year leading to a sub par 0.29 BB/K ratio. Because of the lack of hits and walks, his OBP is also sub par at .312. It could actually be worse, his numbers I mean. When Nick has hit the ball he has been extremely fortunate as he is currently in possession of a 27.7 percent line drive rate – an unsustainable pace. He does have four homers and 21 RBIs over his last 33 games, but he still has 31 strikeouts and is batting just .267 in that time.
(1) Myers is finally back from injury. (2) Myers has more talent than Castellanos. (3) Myers has had more success in the majors. Over 148 career games Myers has hit .263 with 19 homer, 79 RBIs and 80 runs scored. Myers has struggled in his return from injury hitting .154 with one RBI, but it's only been seven games so we can cut him some slack.
I would take a shot on Myers. I couldn't fault anyone at this point of the season from going with Castellanos however.