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FANTASY BASEBALL – 2015 1B Rankings + August 27-29 SP Streams


BaseballMLB

THORNE’S 2015 MLB POSITIONAL RANKINGS: 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | C | OF | SP | RP

2015 BIG NAME BUY-LOWS | THORNE AND SOPPE: CI | MI | OF | SP

THORNE’S 2015 1B RANKINGS

  1. Miguel Cabrera (DET)The reigning AL MVP has posted a career-worst .193 ISO this season due in large part to an 11.9% HR/FB ratio – less than half of his 25.4% mark in 2013. If this is the floor, Cabrera is still incredibly safe, but 2015 will be much better.
  2. Jose Abreu (CWS)
  3. Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)
  4. Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)
  5. Anthony Rizzo (CHC)
  6. Freddie Freeman (ATL)
  7. Joey “…and I love to get” Votto (CIN)
  8. Chris Davis (BAL)2013 appears to be an aberration, but scorned 2014 owners could cause Davis to drop an incredible amount going into next year. His .241 BABIP will normalize whether you’re citing his .322 career rate or his 25% line drive rate from this season. Also, the power’s still legit.
  9. David Ortiz (BOS)
  10. Albert Pujols (LAA)
  11. Victor Martinez (DET)
  12. Lucas Duda (NYM)A 48.7% fly ball rate (third highest in baseball) does limit BABIP and AVG, but it also allows Duda to generate elite power with only a slightly above average HR/FB ratio of 17.4% – much in the vein of Encarnacion.
  13. Mark Trumbo (ARI)
  14. Todd Frazier (CIN)A multi-positon threat who definitely has more value at third, Frazier sets himself apart with 20 steal potential.
  15. Carlos Santana (CLE)
  16. Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)
  17. Prince Fielder (TEX)The biggest wildcard of the position. Putting aside the injury, Fielder’s 7.7% HR/FB ratio is due for massive normalization and, with a modest 13.5% strikeout rate, the former Brewer should benefit simply from putting the ball in play.
  18. Matt Adams (STL)A .300+ AVG is hard to bank on considering it’s taking a .353 BABIP in 2014, but what’s lost there should be made up for in power. If Adams can sustain even a double-digit HR/FB ratio he could easily hit 25-30 home runs.
  19. Brandon Moss (OAK)
  20. Justin Morneau (COL)Morneau has adapted perfectly to Coors Field posting his highest contact rate (85.1%) since 2008 and a career-low 10.9% strikeout rate. The Rockies as a team lead baseball with a .326 BABIP (.355 at home). Just put the ball in play. Seriously. It’s that simple.
  21. Chris Carter (HOU)DIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGS!
  22. Adam LaRoche (WSH)
  23. Mark Teixeira (NYY)
  24. Mike Napoli (BOS)
  25. Brandon Belt (SF)He’s always hurt, he strikes out way too much (27.1%), and his 2013 power surge hinged on a 19.3% HR/FB ratio that screams outlier without even factoring in his home park. Definite stay-away.
  26. Allen Craig (BOS)His current .110 ISO puts him in the class of Erick Aybar and Jose Altuve, but a player to watch. A .281 BABIP is almost 50 points lower than his career mark even with a 56.3% ground ball rate – just outside baseball’s Top 10. Did the power just disappear?
  27. Eric Hosmer (KC)
  28. Billy Butler (KC)
  29. Joe Mauer (MIN)Welcome to life without catcher eligibility, Mauer.
  30. Ryan Howard (PHI)
  31. James “I’m so” Loney (TB)
  32. Kennys Vargas (MIN)Tearing it up through 100 career plate appearances. A .424 BABIP goes a long way. When that comes back to Earth, his seemingly allergic relationship with walks (3.9%) will limit him.
  33. Adam Lind (TOR)An interesting platoon/utility guy. Has the major’s highest average (.359) against right-handed pitching of all players with at least 150 plate appearances. Also sporting a career-worst 7.3% HR/FB ratio.
  34. Michael Morse (SF)
  35. Jon Singleton (HOU)
  36. C.J. CRRROOOOOOONNNNNN (LAA)
  37. Casey McGehee-zax (MIA)ANTI-DIIIIIINNNNNGGGGGS!
  38. Chris Johnson (ATL)
  39. Mark Reynolds (ARI)
  40. Stephen Vogt (OAK)

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 27TH

  1. Marcus Stroman (33%) vs. BOS
  2. Kevin Gausman (15%) vs. TB
  3. Drew Pomeranz (5%) @HOU
  4. Drew Smyly (38%) @BAL
  5. Jeff Locke (9%) vs. STL
  6. Wade Miley (21%) vs. LAD
  7. Shane Greene (12%) @DET
  8. Colby Lewis (3%) @SEA
  9. Hector Noesi (1%) vs. CLE
  10. David Holmberg (0%) vs. CHC

Wednesday’s return to the majors can really go two distinct directions for Drew Pomeranz. Luckily, regardless of how well he pitches overall, he’s definitely going to strikeout an insane amount of Astros – not a bad floor when dealing in streams. The knock on Pomeranz coming into 2014 was that he was very susceptible to surrendering the long ball – in 136.2 major league innings from 2011 to 2013 he’d given them up at a rate of 1.19 per nine. Now, some of this can be attributed to pitching in Colorado, but even after making the switch to Oakland and, in doing so, one of the more renowned pitcher’s parks in baseball, the former first-round pick has still struggled keeping the ball in the yard. Pomeranz allowed opponents to hit a demoralizing 1.67 home runs per nine over the course of his last five big league starts and gave up two more in his most recent outing at Triple-A, though, again, altitude played a factor, this time in the PCL. Truly, the bigger issue, and like most of Pomeranz’s problems, it’s self-created, is that with his control issues, the lefty gives up more crooked-number long balls than solo shots, which will happen when you’d have the MLB’s worst first pitch strike rate at 52.5%. Still, when he’s good, he’s very good. Pomeranz posted a 1.95 ERA over his last five starts at Sacramento prior to the six run blow up, going at least six innings in four of the outings. He also struck out literally everyone while back in the minors, posting a K/9 of 10.49 across all eight of his starts. If Pomeranz can carry over that ability to work deep into games, he can easily rack up eight or nine strikeouts versus a Houston team that leads baseball with a 23.4% strikeout rate. The question is really what Astros team shows up when they do eventually make contact – the one that’s registered a deplorable .206 average over the past week or the one that’s hit to a .154 ISO off southpaw pitching for the season? I like Pomeranz, but there is risk. Tread carefully. THURSDAY, AUGUST 28TH

  1. Collin McHugh (40%) vs. TEX
  2. Jon Niese (21%) vs. ATL
  3. Carlos Carrasco (23%) @CWS
  4. Jeremy Guthrie (8%) vs. MIN
  5. Jordan Lyles (7%) @SF
  6. Bud Norris (16%) vs. TB
  7. John Danks (4%) vs. CLE
  8. Jeremy Hellickson (19%) @BAL
  9. Nick Tepesch (1%) @HOU
  10. Tommy Milone (4%) @KC

So, here’s the thing about Jordan Lyleshe’s not any good. Like, he’s so not good that the fact he’s 6-1 on the season hasn’t affected his ownership at all. Now, you fine people reading this column might not think anything of that, but people eat records up. Everybody loves wins. Except Brad Garrett. That dude needs a new shtick. Anyway, Lyles and his 4.86 ERA over his past seven starts aren’t exactly impressive, but neither are the Giants and they happen to struggle most in the area where the former Astros prospect is most vulnerable. Left-handed batters crush Lyles to the tune of a .364 wOBA and have been responsible for six of the eight home runs he’s allowed (he actually does a reasonable job of keeping the ball in the park considering half his starts come at Coors, his 53.1% ground ball rate would rank eighth in baseball had he near the innings to qualify), but San Francisco is void of any pop from that side of the batter’s box. The Giants’ left-handed hitters have a .122 ISO and .300 wOBA when facing right-handed pitching, both fifth worst in the entire league, while they’ve also struck out in 20.6% of these situations – again, fifth worst in baseball. Strikeouts also happen to be an area of improvement for Lyles. Though his ERA is mundane at best, the righty has posted a K/9 of 8.35 over his past nine starts, a vast improvement on his 6.27 career mark. In deeper leagues, make sure to give Lyles a look on a somewhat shallow stream day. FRIDAY, AUGUST 29TH

  1. Jacob deGrom (44%) vs. PHI
  2. Mike Leake (43%) @PIT
  3. Danny Salazar (42%) @KC
  4. Jason Vargas (41%) vs. CLE
  5. Miguel Gonzalez (6%) vs. MIN
  6. Edinson Volquez (20%) vs. CIN
  7. Tom Koehler (17%) @ATL
  8. Chris Young (47%) vs. WSH
  9. Kyle Hendricks (43%) @STL
  10. David Buchanan (1%) @NYM

Roughly three weeks into the season I noted that Edinson Volquez, though pristine control, had been tearing through the NL Central. I also said “I would expect Volquez’s 1.61 walks per nine to rise to a Liriano-like mid-threes number by season’s end”. Well, since his first six starts of the season, where Volquez posted a 1.60 BB/9 over 30+ innings, the former Red has surrendered 3.74 free passes per nine. That’s not great. Still, when your career mark is 4.53 – it’s not terrible and Volquez has been legit the past two months. He’s posted a 2.29 ERA over his past 11 outings, allowing more than two earned runs in just two of those starts. In general, the right-hander has benefited from pitching far more to contact this season with his overall 81.4% contact rate above 80% for the first time in his life. Though Volquez’s K/9 is easily a career-worst at 6.11, it was over a strikeout per inning in 2008, his ERA also hasn’t been sub-four since that 17 win campaign – I’ll take that trade off. Start Volquez against an anemic Cincinnati offense that, over the past month, ranks last in the National League with a .105 ISO and next to last in baseball with a .279 wOBA. Plus, THEY DON’T WALK ANYWAY. The Reds have a meager 7% walk rate – that will only help the Pirate.



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