Around the League With the Latest In-Depth Fantasy Insights and Recommendations
The rumblings of the humidor made anyone on the Diamondbacks polarizing for Fantasy purposes in the preseason. Fantasy owners either bought the impact of the humidor, which was said to decrease home runs by anywhere from 35 to 50 percent, or they laughed it off as an overreaction. So far, with still relatively small data to base results on, we’ve seen the humidor have the expected impact on everyone not named A.J. Pollock, and that includes first rounder Paul Goldschmidt.
Before the humidor was official, Goldschmidt was the consensus third overall pick in Fantasy drafts. After the humidor was announced as a go for this year, though, Goldy fell to the bottom half of the first round. It’s not just the humidor for Goldschmidt, though, as more than his power has been impacted.
MISSING: Paul Goldschmidt’s ability to hit
MISSING SINCE: September 2017
IF FOUND PLEASE CONTACT THE ARIZONA @Dbacks
$11.1 MILLION REWARD FOR ITS SAFE RETURN. NO QUESTIONS ASKED
— Ryan McCaffrey (@DMC_Ryan) May 11, 2018
Goldschmidt is striking out and hitting more infield flyballs than he was last year, and his triple slash numbers are down significantly across the board. We expected the power to be down due to the ballpark changes in Arizona, but Goldschmidt was a rare first baseman that was able to contribute significant steals for Fantasy owners. However, those have slipped, too, as he has just two steals in as many attempts after posting 18, 32 and 21 steals the past three seasons.
So, what do you do if you’re a Goldschmidt owner? Well, if you sell him now, you’re going to get – at best – 50 cents to the dollar on your investment. By September, Goldschmidt should resemble the player we expected, but with a home run total of around 22 or 23 and not the 36 he had last year. It’s a good time to buy Goldschmidt in your league to add a first-round talent for the final three-quarters of the season.
Here’s what else has caught my eye around the league recently:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Last year wasn’t a blip on the radar from Charlie Morton. Yes, he really is this good. Similar to Gerrit Cole, the Astros know how to get the most of their pitchers, which is what the Pirates failed to do with the duo. Pittsburgh has a pitch-to-contact approach, whereas Houston works with each pitcher’s strength. For Morton, that’s his four-seam fastball.
During Morton’s stint in Pittsburgh, he was a sinker-first pitcher, as he threw the pitch more than half of the time he was on the mound. The change started last year for Morton, as he topped off in May throwing the pitch 47 percent of the time. This year, through the first two months, Morton is throwing his sinker only 27 percent of the time.
He’s throwing his four-seam fastball 30 percent of the time, compared to the mid-teens last year and around 10 percent of the time during his tenure in Pittsburgh.
It’s a dominating pitch, as Morton racks up whiff after whiff with it (13.27 SwStr%), thanks to its late movement. Morton is a bonafide Top 20 pitcher, and he’s the perfect example of a buy-high player that the current owner may not fully be sold on.
Velo Way Down
Patrick Corbin has been a nice surprise this year, but there’s reason for concern after his past two starts. His average fastball velocity is down, and it’s, like, way down. In his last two starts, which were both against the Dodgers, Corbin averaged 89.71 and 90.71 on his fastball. The 89.71 mph average was the lowest in any start in his career, and the 90.71 average was the lowest since his started against the Giants in September 2012.
Could this be dead arm? Could it be leading to a bigger injury? No matter what, it’s not a good sign for Arizona’s breakout pitcher this year. I’d be looking to sell him based on his first six starts that elevated him to a Top 25 pitcher.
One of the more underappreciated stats in Fantasy Baseball is innings. Very few pitchers are consistently going 200 innings for your staff. That durability is what has made Marcus Stroman a valuable Fantasy pitcher – especially in points and head-to-head formats. Despite having a so-so strikeout rate, Stroman has pitched 204 and 201 innings the past two years, respectively. This year, though, he’s a guy to stay far, far away from.
The shoulder injury that he complained about in Spring Training has put Stroman on the disabled list. Assuming Stroman gets off the disabled list when he’s first eligible, he’s on pace to throw 148 innings this year. That … makes him a streamer, at most. There’s little difference between Stroman and Ervin Santana.
Wait, do you hear that? Because maybe I’m hard of hearing, but the “Aaron Judge is going to regress” crowed is pretty quiet about now.
Judge’s ability to draw walks has impressed me, and I’m still confident that that skill will eventually bring his K% around 25 percent instead of the 29 percent it’s currently at. He’s on pace for more than 40 homers again, and there’s room for his batting average and BABIP to normalize to where it was last year, which is still around a .280 average. The Fantasy industry built in regression too much when analyzing Judge this spring, so much that it pushed him into the second and third round in drafts. In hindsight, he should have been the first Yankees player drafted, even ahead of Giancarlo Stanton.
I’m typically not a fan of these, but let’s do a quick Player A and Player B
Player A: .319/.355/.525, 5.3 BB%, 10.5 K%, five homers, three steals, 135 wRC+
Player B: .254/.373/.391, 15.1 BB%, 21.1 K%, three homers, three steals, 119 wRC+
Player A is Corey Dickerson, and Player B is the man he replaced, Andrew McCutchen. Why Tampa Bay gave the 2017 All-Star away to the Pirates for nothing is still a mystery, but Dickerson has been great as a real life and Fantasy option so far.
When asked post-game Saturday if the Pirates were trying to hit home runs, Clint Hurdle said “no.” When Dickerson was asked the same question, he said “all the time.”
Dickerson is clearly telling the truth, as his average launch angle has gone up from 13.8 last year to 20.3 this year, according to Baseball Savant.
Dickerson is a true OF3 for your Fantasy team, and if anyone is skeptical of his sustainability for the season, make a fair trade offer now and enjoy the production.
Paul Goldschmidt Featured Image: (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)