Fantasy Baseball Category Impact: May 18
Each week, Colby Conway provides in-depth analysis on specific category contributors who may be lingering on your waiver wire.
Welcome back FA Nation! Get ready for this week’s edition of Category Impact! If you’re new to the site or just forget how this article works since last week, let me offer a quick refresher.
Category Impact will offer up anywhere from four to six players that can help you out in a certain category, whether it is stolen bases, home runs, or strikeouts. Some weeks, there will be an added focus on a specific categories, while others will be just players that you will want to pick up, but there will be in-depth analysis detailing exactly what category, or categories, a certain player will be of added benefit.
This week’s feature is…. IMPROVING RATIOS!
Seung-Hwan Oh , RP TOR – Oh, what a sight it is to see Oh pitching well again on the major league rubber. After a tumultuous 2017 campaign, Oh landed with the Blue Jays and has been incredibly effective. He’s hardly getting hit, notching an 8:1 K/BB ratio over his last handful of appearances. He’s generating more swings-and-misses, and he’s firmly placed his name in the closing conversation for Toronto, especially with Roberto Osuna out of the mix. Oh has been more effective against righties this season, but with lefties hitting just .231 against him, it’s not like he’s a culprit of a substantial split disadvantage. Even if Oh isn’t receiving the ball in the ninth inning, he’s a valuable addition to any fantasy team and his value will only increase if he does receive a save opportunity or two.
Freddy Peralta , SP MIL – Peralta is just 21 years of age and has an excellent, effective fastball. His velocity isn’t incredibly overpowering, but he dominated the Rockies by throwing a fastball 90 times out of his 98 pitches. Yes, you read that right. Of his 13 strikeouts in that game, 12 came via the fastball. When he did throw his curve it was around the zone, so it’s not like he can’t throw a second pitch. In that game, Colorado failed to get a hit off of his curveball, going 0-for-3 with one strikeout. The worry with this sort of arsenal is how sustainable is long-term success when you throw one pitch more than 90 percent of the time.
Despite notching a 18-25 record across his minor league career, he posted a 3.31 ERA with an exceptional 470 strikeouts across 400 innings. Before getting the call to the big league club, Peralta was 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA and a 46:17 K/BB ratio in 34.2 Triple-A innings. He won’t strikeout 13 batters every time he toes the rubber, but he carries that high-end strikeout upside that will be a huge boost to your team’s K/9 mark.
Jeremy Hellickson , SP WSH – For his career, Hellickson is one game above .500 with a 4.06 ERA, 2.69 BB/9, 1.28 HR/9 and 6.61 K/9. He’s exceeding all of those numbers this year, to the tune of a 2.20 ERA, 0.55 HR/9, 1.38 BB/9 and 7.16 K/9. His first 32.2 innings as a member of the Washington Nationals has been highly successful, despite the fact that he’s just 1-0 through six starts. Given his career path and how he’s fared in recent years, this sort of production isn’t sustainable with Hellickson, especially when considering the fact that the current BABIP of .239 would be the second-lowest in his career and his FIP is significantly greater than his ERA. He’s minimizing hard contact and the opposition is hitting .200 or lower against his three primary pitches (fastball, changeup and curveball).
He should be a nice sell-high chip, as it’s likely only a matter of time until the pedestrian Hellickson appears that us fantasy owners know and love so much.
Richard Rodriguez , RP PIT – In just 5.2 innings last year with the Orioles, Rodriguez served up nine earned runs on 12 hits, four of which went sailing over the fences. The strikeouts were low, the walks were high and the opposition feasted on him. However, it’s been a different version of him in 2018 with the Pirates. In just under 16 innings of work, his BB/9 resides at a quality 1.15 mark, while his 15.51 K/9 is elite! Despite a drop in velocity and spin rate with both his fastball and slider, he’s been far more effective this season. Opponents are hitting just .122 off his fastball this season, but his slider has resulted in a .550 batting average for the opposition.
The big question with Rodriguez will be how long he can survive at this sort of level only off his fastball, which coming in at an average of 92.8 miles per hour is far from overpowering. A .455 BABIP allowed is far from encouraging and his FIP is nearly a full point below his ERA, signifying that there has been some luck on Rodriguez’s side. However, for the time being, he’s productive and helping the ratios.
Dan Winkler , RP ATL – This guy WILL be closing ball games for the Atlanta Braves sooner rather than later. Arodys Vizcaíno ’s inconsistencies and A.J. Minter ’s command issues are unparalleled to Winkler’s early season dominance. He’s allowed just two earned runs this whole season, both of which came over a month ago against the Chicago Cubs. He’s punched out 27 batters in 18.1 innings, while allowing just seven hits and five walks during that span. You’re looking to improve your ratios, right? Well, his WHIP is 0.65, his ERA is below 1.00 and a 27:5 K/BB ratio is exceptional. Winkler is gold right now, so get him before he’s gone.