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FANTASY BASEBALL – 2015 2B Rankings + Weekend Starting Pitcher 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 2B RANKINGS

  1. Robinson Cano (SEA)
  2. Anthony Rendon (WSH)
  3. Brian Dozier (MIN)An actual 25/25 threat at the position, Dozier, who’s .255 BABIP limits his potential average greatly, could hit .260 if his line drive rate of 18.9% could normalize back above 20%. A 13% walk rate legitimizes his American League leading 92 runs scored.
  4. Jason Kipnis (CLE)Kipnis’ name will have an immense negative connotation in 2015, which makes him a fantastic value. With a month to go in 2014, Kipnis has stolen 80 bases the past three seasons and when a putrid 5.9% HR/FB ratio normalizes so will his horrific .099 ISO from this year.
  5. Jose Altuve (HOU)Altuve isn’t a stay away, but it’s possible he’s the second 2B off most boards in 2015 – this is incorrect. For someone’s who’s value is tied to being on base, natural regression of a .353 BABIP and a terrible 5.2% walk rate aren’t too appealing.
  6. Ian Kinsler (TEX)
  7. Dee Gordon (LAD)Essentially, see prior Altuve note and substitute Gordon’s name. A .095 ISO will look even worse when the OBP falls next season.
  8. Daniel “Charlie” Murphy (NYM)His 28.6% line drive rate will regress in 2014, but he’s still a career .292 hitter with 15/15 potential. A respectable 13.4% strikeout rate assists these traits greatly.
  9. Ben Zobrist (TB)
  10. Neil Walker (PIT)
  11. Javier Baez (CHC) – Baez is the Chris Carter of 2Bs – a ton of power, but the strikeouts, oh, the strikeouts. Still, literally swing for the fences with the Cub’s upside at a shallow position. The 44.4% strikeout rate and the 29.2% HR/FB ratio will drop, but not as much as you’d think.
  12. Jedd Gyorko (SD)Like Kipnis, Gyroko is now a cursed name among select owners – take advantage. A .233 BABIP and foot injury have held the Padre back all season, but since returning to the lineup he’s hit .275 with a .187 ISO. I’ll take that everyday from a current fringe starting 2B.
  13. Brandon Phillips (CIN)
  14. Chase Utley (PHI)
  15. Brett Lawrie (TOR)Sort of a fence-sit on the oft-injured, but always tantalizing Blue Jay. A 13.7% line drive rate was highly responsible for Lawrie’s .260 BABIP being 32 points lower than his career rate, though his .174 ISO was seemingly unaffected.
  16. Dustin Pedroia (BOS)I was out on him coming into 2014 and that stance hasn’t changed. Altuve currently has a higher ISO than the former MVP’s .101 mark while he’s posted a career-low in average and a career-high strikeout rate. Let someone stuck in 2010 take him high, then laugh. Laugh so, so much.
  17. Scooter Gennett (MIL)PLATOONS! You know who has a career .344 average and .908 OPS against right-handed pitching? Scooter. That’s who. Also, if there’s a half of the platoon you want, it’s always the lefty.
  18. Kolten Wong (STL)
  19. Howie Kendrick (LAA)
  20. Asdrubal Cabrera (WSH)
  21. Aaron Hill (ARI)The power disappeared in 2014 – a little too quickly for a man who plays half his games at Chase. The 5% jump in K% and 3% drop in BB% is not a good sign, but Hill’s 6.5% HR/FB ratio was easily his lowest as a Diamondback. A decent sleeper/bounce-back candidate.
  22. Jurickson Profar (TEX)
  23. Jonathan Schoop (BAL)The power is very intriguing, at his current pace he’d hit 18 home runs over 600 plate appearances, but, in an obvious attempt to make Adam Jones think he’s cool, he swings at EVERYTHING. A 2.6% walk rate won’t do. Just no.
  24. Omar Infante (KC)
  25. Stephen Drew (NYY)His current .200 BABIP is over 100 points lower than his career number. If he stays in New York, he’ll be a player to watch.
  26. Gordon Beckham (LAA)
  27. Roughed Odor (TEX)
  28. D.J. LeMahieu (COL)
  29. Joe Panik (SF)
  30. Emilio Bonifacio (ATL)

SATURDAY, AUGUST 30TH

  1. Jake Odorizzi (42%) vs. BOS
  2. Bartolo Colon (44%) vs. PHI
  3. Trevor Bauer (14%) @KC
  4. Jarred Cosart (9%) @ATL
  5. Scott Feldman (8%) vs. TEX
  6. Jose Quintana (46%) vs. DET
  7. Aaron Harang (41%) vs. MIA
  8. “Five Hundred” Miles Mikolas (0%) @HOU
  9. Tsuyoshi Wada (27%) @STL
  10. Justin Masterson (39%) vs. CHC

It’s been sort of a weird transition to the National League for Jarred Cosart. Not in that he’s struggled, as you would expect his numbers have been far better in the senior circuit as he’s pitched to a 0.87 ERA over his past three starts, but for the fact that he’s faced two American League teams – good American League teams. Well… Los Angeles at least. The former Marlin dominated one of baseball hottest clubs, tossing one-run ball over 7.2 innings, specifically focusing on control and working ahead in the count. Cosart threw 80 strikes in the game and was only behind 2-0 once. Cutting back the free passes has been a constant theme in the former Astro’s success. Across a six start stretch that covered most of June, Cosart went 5-1 with a 2.50 ERA, which correlated greatly with a 2.04 BB/9. Really, it’s this temptation that might have lead to Cosart’s change of address. Take a look at these 2014 splits – Cosart: 55.3% GB rate/3.60 BB/9/5.50 K/9, Player B: 55.7% GB rate/1.66 BB/9/5.56 K/9. Player B is National League All-Star Henderson Alvarez who, much like his new teammate, tantalizes owners with plus velocity on his fastball, but is always going to be a contact pitcher. Cosart has this type of upside and now has a home ballpark far more pitcher friendly than Minute Maid. Pick up Cosart for this weekend’s start against Atlanta, but definitely keep an eye on him going into 2015. If he can throw the ball across the plate, he might be in line for a breakout.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 31ST

  1. Nathan Eovaldi (18%) @ATL
  2. Jorge De La Rosa (25%) @ARI
  3. Brandon McCarthy (47%) @TOR
  4. Dillon Gee (21%) vs. PHI
  5. Clay Buchholz (36%) @TB
  6. Wei-Yin Chen (39%) vs. MIN
  7. T.J. House (1%) @KC
  8. Jacob Turner (1%) @STL
  9. Chase Anderson (10%) vs. COL
  10. Hector Noesi (1%) vs. DET

When I talk about regression it’s generally intended that said regression will be to the norm and generally it will take place over the course of the same season. But, as much as I’d like to be, I am not the King of Regression, I am merely a slave to it’s will – as is Clay Buchholz. In a big, big way. Buchholz had an 83.7% strand rate in 2013. Now, as anyone who has ever even accidentally opened a FanGraphs page could tell you, the Red Sox was in for a big drop in 2014, but no one could have predicted it would be this stark a contrast. His strand rate is 21% lower, his opponent BABIP is 74 points higher, if possible, his hair is worse – it’s been horrible, though slightly less so as of late. Buchholz has a 4.30 ERA in his past four starts, inflated by a six run outing versus a very good Angels team, but he’s worked at least seven innings in three of the four. Helping him work deeper into games is a suppressed 2.45 BB/9 over that stretch which lines up with the simple theory that bad luck is less likely to affect you if there’s no one on base. Also in Buchholz’s favor Sunday? He won’t have to pitch at Fenway. The veteran has a 7.20 ERA in Boston this season with a .498 opponent slugging percentage at the forefront of the blame. Going up against a Rays team that’s had their own issues, just ask Evan Longoria, and rank 29th in ISO and dead last in wOBA the past two weeks Buchholz is a solid stream candidate this weekend and remains one of the highest upside pitchers available on waiver wires.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1ST

  1. Drew Smyly (44%) vs. BOS
  2. Jimmy Nelson (10%) @CHC
  3. Kevin Gausman (14%) vs. MIN
  4. Rubby De La Rosa (6%) @TB
  5. Trevor Cahill (2%) @SD
  6. Jason Hammel (47%) vs. SEA
  7. Roenis Elias (9%) @OAK
  8. Franklin Morales (1%) vs. SF
  9. Colby Lewis (3%) @KC
  10. Roberto Hernandez (9%) vs. WSH

The recent success of Drew Smyly is almost a double-edged sword for fantasy owners. Obviously you’ll take the 0.88 ERA the lefty has pitched to across his last four starts, but by being so effective and by working so deep into games Smyly has nearly reached the newly implemented innings cap that manger Joe Maddon handed down on Thursday. Smyly, currently at 141.1 innings for the season, will apparently be shut down anywhere between 150-160 innings meaning, if all goes as it has lately, he’ll likely only have two starts left this season. Luckily one of these outings will be Monday against the Red Sox. Boston still ranks in the bottom third of the league in most major offensive categories, really the only thing they actually do well is walk which, technically, isn’t something that’s 100% under their control. Still, they’re a patient lineup. This would have concerned me more if we were discussing April Smyly who was allowing 3.76 free passes per nine over his first eight outings (six starts) of the year, but Tampa Smyly isn’t the generous type. The former Tiger has surrendered just 1.47 BB/9 over his last 30.2 innings and that combined with an incredible ability to shut left-handed hitters down, Smyly’s .203 LHH opponent wOBA is insane, is why he’s a must start on Monday. To simplify – use him before you lose him.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2ND

  1. Jon Niese (21%) @MIA
  2. Wade Miley (20%) @SD
  3. James Paxton (37%) @OAK
  4. Carlos Carrasco (30%) vs. DET
  5. Hector Santiago (15%) @HOU
  6. Jeremy Guthrie (11%) vs. TEX
  7. Yusmeiro Petit (10%) @COL
  8. Shane Greene (12%) vs. BOS
  9. Joe Kelly (12%) @NYY
  10. Bud Norris (15%) vs. CIN

I tried to resist writing about Carlos Carrasco again, but I just couldn’t. He’s been too good. In fact, sorry Nathan Eovaldi – I’m breaking up with you. Carrasco was my first love anyway. Last week I discussed how the Indian’s improved control has led to his post-April success, but I sort of glossed over how awesome his slider has been – and let me assure you, it’s been fantastic. The pitch has a 30.3% whiff rate, but maybe even more impressive is the results of the sliders actually put into play. Opposing hitters are batting just .088 on the offering and every single one of those hits is a single. That’s right. Carrasco hasn’t given up a single extra-base hit on a slider this season and we’re talking about a pitch that he’s thrown 254 times. His slider is a huge reason Carrasco’s 50.7% O-Contact rate is almost 4% lower than any other pitcher in baseball and his swinging strike rate is an elite 12.2%. It’s Johan Santana’s change-up. It’s legitimately that good, or at least it has been this season. Now, the Tigers have been hitting again the past two weeks (they rank second in the American League in runs to Minnesota, though that’s really their own fault), however they have the 25th lowest ISO and 4th highest BABIP over that time. That’s not sustainable. Start Carrasco. Keep Carrasco. Love Carrasco.



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