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FANTASY BASEBALL – 2015 OF Rankings (Part 2) + September 20-23 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

**Read Part 1 of Thorne’s 2015 OF rankings here**

THORNE’S 2015 OF RANKINGS (Full Rankings)

  1. Mike Trout (LAA)
  2. Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)
  3. Carlos Gomez (MIL)
  4. Jose Bautista (TOR)
  5. Nelson Cruz (BAL)
  6. Carlos Gonzalez (COL)
  7. Andrew McCutchen (PIT)
  8. Jacoby Ellsbury (NYY)
  9. Michael Brantley (CLE)
  10. Justin Upton (ATL)
  11. Adam Jones (BAL)
  12. Charlie Blackmon (COL)
  13. Bryce Harper (WSH)
  14. Hunter Pence (SF)
  15. George Springer (HOU)
  16. Corey Dickerson (COL)
  17. Yasiel Puig (LAD)
  18. Mark Trumbo (ARI)
  19. Alex Gordon (KC)
  20. Ryan Braun (MIL)
  21. Shin-Soo Choo (TEX)
  22. Brett Gardner (NYY)
  23. Alex Rios (TEX)
  24. Jorge Soler (CHC)
  25. Billy Hamilton (CIN)
  26. Yoenis Cespedes (BOS)
  27. Jayson Werth (WSH)
  28. Matt Kemp (LAA)
  29. Melky Cabrera (TOR)It appears that Cabrera is healthy again (well, minus his pinkie), but now the question is where he’ll play his home games in 2015. His .316 BABIP was within five points of his career mark and, though it was technically a career-high, his 10.7% HR/FB is relatively sustainable. Still, if he’s not playing in the Rogers Centre or in a highly potent Blue Jay offense, Cabrera will see a drop in his counting stats.
  30. Christian Yelich (MIA)
  31. Denard Span (WSH)Coming off a career best steal season (31) and what should be a career-high in runs (with 12 games remaining he has 93) Span is a valuable fantasy option with the stipulation he stays atop the order in Washington. The former Twin lacks power, but as a career .286 hitter who’s strikeout rate fell below 10% in 2014, Span presents little risk with not enough name value to drive his price too high.
  32. Chris Carter (HOU)
  33. Josh Hamilton (LAA)
  34. Kole Calhoun (LAA)
  35. Starling Marte (PIT) – First off, as crazy as a .372 BABIP seems, Marte does have a career .362 rate, so don’t worry about that. However do worry about the diminished steals in 2014. Marte increased his walk rate by 2.1% from 2013 to this year, resulting in a 15 point uptick in his OBP, yet the Pirate isn’t on pace to break 30 steals this season after swiping 41 the year prior. Doesn’t make a lot of sense.
  36. Matt Holliday (STL)It was a terribly slow start to the 2013 campaign for Holliday, but as I mentioned then, the second half was going to be better – and it was. The veteran has maintained a .236 ISO and .388 wOBA since the All-Star break, but I’m avoiding Holliday if at all possible in 2015. The Cardinal is on pace to have his lowest RBI total since an injury-shortened 2011, despite batting .356 with RISP (though 15 of his 18 home runs were solo shots). Turning 35 before next season, we’re witnessing the beginning of the end for Holliday.
  37. Jason Heyward (ATL)The power numbers are concerning and while some of it can be chalked up to a career-worst 6.8% HR/FB ratio, the only time that number has sat below 13%, Heyward’s power outage has coincided with the massive drop in his strikeout rate. Once the Brave finds the balance between patient and passive, I believe the home run totals will rise again.
  38. Jay Bruce (CIN)A 54 point drop in BABIP and a career-low 14.8% HR/FB ratio are sure to normalize in 2015, but Bruce is no longer a top-end outfield option – not that he was ever a consistent one. I mean, the strikeout rate has risen the past four seasons. That’s bad.
  39. Josh Harrison (PIT)
  40. Khris Davis (MIL)
  41. Marcell Ozuna (MIA)
  42. J.D. Martinez (DET)Do I think Martinez legitimately got better as a player this year? Sure. Do I think that his American League leading .379 BABIP will carry over to 2015? Not so much. The former Astro more than doubled both his ISO and HR/FB ratio from 2013 and I’m inclined to believe the true Martinez lies somewhere in the middle. …like Malcolm.
  43. Brandon Moss (OAK)
  44. Coco Crisp (OAK)There was no way Covelli was replicating his outlier-ish 12.4% HR/FB ratio from last season, but, for Coco, a more important, and frankly impressive, ratio would be the Athletic’s 0.97 BB/K. Also, he can still steal 30 bases. That’s possibly appealing.
  45. Marlon Byrd (PHI)
  46. Wil Myers (TB)
  47. Ben Zobrist (TB)
  48. Austin Jackson (SEA)Career-low ISO and a 2.8% HR/FB ratio. Now, Jackson isn’t a power hitter by any means, and playing 81 games at Safeco won’t help, but those numbers will normalize in 2015.
  49. Leonys Martin (TEX)
  50. Ben Revere (PHI)If I have one live and die by run in fantasy baseball, it’s this: I don’t trust players that have their value entirely tied to stolen bases that don’t walk. Revere has a career .049 ISO. Horrible. He’s currently posting a 2.1% walk rate in 2014. That’s not only the worst figure in baseball, but depressingly bad. I’ll be steering clear of Mr. Revere.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20TH

  1. Marcus Stroman (36%) @NYY
  2. Jon Niese (20%) @ATL
  3. Yusmeiro Petit (30%) @SD
  4. Drew Pomeranz (6%) vs. PHI
  5. T.J. House (5%) @MIN
  6. Jarred Cosart (30%) vs. WSH
  7. Mike Leake (41%) @STL
  8. Jeremy Hellickson (12%) vs. CWS
  9. Edinson Volquez (31%) vs. MIL
  10. Roberto Hernandez (5%) @CHC

Drew Pomeranz has been seldom used since returning the A’s roster following, of course, the former first round pick punching a chair – never the best idea when you’re a pitcher. Still, in those 8.1 innings (one start) Pomeranz hasn’t allowed an earned run, hasn’t walked a batter, and has struck out ten opposing hitters. The control is truly the interesting part of that stat line for the southpaw. In Pomeranz’s final five starts before the injury, the stretch of games where his at that point highly impressive season had begun to go downhill, the lefty’s 5.00 ERA was directly due to a 4.33 BB/9 – not that his overall season mark of 3.38 is all that much better. Still, walks aside, the Phillies are just a solid stream opponent for any pitcher these days – specifically in the past two weeks. Philadelphia’s .201 team average ranks 29th in baseball over that span while their .246 wOBA is dead last in the league. But if small sample sizes aren’t your thing, consider that for the entirety of the 2014 season the Phillies are 25th in both average (.242) and wOBA (.303) when facing left-handed pitching. The strikeouts will be there and, if he can keep his pitch count in check, so will the ratio stability. Look to Pomeranz on Saturday.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 21ST

  1. Ryan Vogelsong (18%) @SD
  2. Nathan Eovaldi (16%) vs. WSH
  3. Miguel Gonzalez (31%) vs. BOS
  4. Drew Hutchison (20%) @NYY
  5. Charlie Morton (9%) vs. MIL
  6. John Danks (4%) @TB
  7. Wade Miley (19%) @COL
  8. Tyler Matzek (7%) vs. ARI
  9. Cory Rasmus (2%) vs. TEX
  10. Jeremy Guthrie (8%) vs. DET

Here’s the thing about Ryan Vogelsong‘s last nine starts – when they’ve been in places that literally aren’t the worst pitching parks in baseball, nay, atmospheric wastelands, he’s actually pitched pretty well. Taking out an eight run outing versus the Rockies at Coors and a four run outing against the Diamondbacks at Chase, Vogelsong has a 2.20 ERA across his last nine starts, a span that includes Washington and Milwaukee twice. Really, this is sort of a trend that has followed the veteran throughout 2014. Vogelsong has a pristine 2.95 ERA when pitching at spacious AT&T Park this season, that compared to a 5.20 ERA when pitching on the road – where yes, I do remember this particular game is actually taking place. Still, the reason for the righty’s success in San Francisco has been his home park’s ability to suppress home run rates. According to ESPN Park Factors, AT&T is the worst home run hitting park in all of baseball this year – something very clear in Vogelsong’s incredible 0.19 HR/9 mark while pitching within it’s walls. Now, while the 1.81 HR/9 that has plagued him on the road is worrisome – it shouldn’t be a factor at Petco, which plays far more like AT&T than Coors or Chase. Petco Park ranks 22nd in 2014 in terms of susceptibility to the long ball, but in general, it’s just the best overall pitcher’s park in the league. Don’t let it, or it’s inhabitants (a Padres team that is dead last in the National League in ISO, average, and wOBA) scare you away from Vogelsong.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22ND

  1. Derek Holland (33%) vs. HOU
  2. Jorge De La Rosa (23%) @SD
  3. James Paxton (46%) @TOR
  4. Josh Collmenter (13%) @MIN
  5. Wei-Yin Chen (44%) @NYY
  6. Danny “Donnie Dumphy” Duffy (39%) @CLE
  7. Nick Tropeano (0%) @TEX
  8. Aaron Harang (35%) vs. PIT
  9. J.A. Happ (4%) vs. SEA
  10. Kyle Lobstein …Lobstein (3%) vs. CWS

There’s going to be someone who decides/is forced to stream Nick Tropeano on Monday and, as a concerned fantasy citizen, I felt it was my duty to at least inform who of who the man actually is. The rookie has had some success through two major league starts, allowing just three earned runs and striking out nine in his ten innings of work, yet there are some serious red flags even within this small sample. Not only have opponents hit to a putrid 10.7% line drive rate off Tropeano so far, pretty unsustainable and most likely a result of unfamiliarity, but the 50% fly ball rate is concerning and a likely reason the righty won’t get through an abbreviated 2014 without surrendering a home run. Still, Tropeano’s proven to be a strikeout pitcher across all levels of the Astros’ minor league system, generating a more than respectable 8.66 K/9 through 124.2 innings in Triple-A just this year. This does make Tropeano a sneaky category play in deeper formats with the Rangers also not representing much of a danger in the other dugout. Injuries have decimated Texas’ lineup throughout the entire season and while they have recently found some success, over the past two weeks they rank 13th in baseball in runs scored (yes, that’s actually good for them), even that modest output seems like it’s going to have to end seeing as how it’s come with a .099 team ISO, 6.3% walk rate, and an American League leading .343 BABIP. Again, in a 12-team league I wouldn’t take the risk, but for those in a tight spot Tropeano might hold some value. Worst case, if he blows up, you have the whole week to try and adjust. …or comes to terms with your Championship loss.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23RD

  1. Henderson Alvarez (37%) vs. PHI
  2. Bartolo Colon (37%) @WSH
  3. Brandon McCarthy (39%) vs. BAL
  4. Jake Odorizzi (35%) @BOS
  5. Ricky Nolasco (13%) vs. ARI
  6. Kyle Hendricks (32%) vs. STL
  7. Ubaldo Jimenez (23%) @NYY
  8. Brett Oberholtzer (2%) @TEX
  9. Yohan Flande (0%) @SD
  10. Nick Martinez (1%) vs. HOU

Tuesday will mark Ricky Nolasco‘s 26th start of the 2014 season and, very possibly, his last. Now, you would think that over the course of these 25 previous outings that Nolasco, who was Minnesota’s Opening Day starter, would have accrued the innings to at the very least qualify for most major pitching categories (he would rank last in several), but this is not the case. That’s just how bad Nolasco has been this season – though September has been different. In his three starts in the season’s final month, the veteran has pitched to a 1.35 ERA while overall Nolasco has only allowed more than two earned runs in one of his past five starts. The key to this has been a return to the elite control that Nolasco showed earlier in his career, limiting the free base runners that he has to deal with. It’s a lot like how Mark Buehrle has to pitch. When you don’t generate a lot of swings and misses and your stuff in general isn’t all that great, you’re going to give up hits – in fact Nolasco’s .350 opponent BABIP would be the highest in baseball if he again had the innings, but in throwing strikes you at least force a team to cluster together multiple hits within an inning. If Nolasco can stay in control, this scenario should play out nicely against a Diamondbacks offense that has been one of the worst in the league the past month – Arizona has maintained a horrible .100 ISO and .276 wOBA over that time. Start Nolasco and then laugh all winter when Icky Ricky helps lead you to fantasy glory.



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