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5 MLB Starting Pitchers With a lot to Prove in 2017

With the 2016 MLB season officially in the rearview mirror, the entire baseball world now shifts its focus to the offseason and preparing for 2017.

Some players and teams hope to build upon the progress they’ve made over the last six months, but others are out to re-establish themselves and prove that recent subpar performances were a blip in the radar. That’s easier said than done, of course.

Plenty of players have an eye toward rebounding in 2017, but the following starting pitchers find themselves in an unfamiliar situation. They’ve each experienced a period of dominance on the mound – some longer than others – but had to deal with tough times in 2016.

To regain their status of being one of baseball’s top starters, these five hurlers have plenty to prove once April rolls around. 

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Houston Astros Already Running Out of Time to Turn Their Season Around

We can all pretty much agree on one thing when it comes to the Houston Astros – their complete teardown and rebuild was brutal. However, after watching them morph from a 100-loss team to an 86-win playoff bound one in the matter of a couple years, it was definitely worth it.

Equipped with a young core and reinforcing the pitching staff with hurlers like Doug Fister and Ken Giles, the expectations grew even more for 2016. They were not only expected to return to October, but also get past the ALDS and take that next step toward a championship.

Fast forward to the middle of May, and the Astros are easily baseball’s biggest disappointment throughout the season’s first month and a half. Entering action on Tuesday, they’re in last place with a 16-24 record and are seven games back of first in the AL West.

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Is It Time To Worry About Dallas Keuchel?

Dallas Keuchel was considered the best pitcher in the American League in 2015, but he doesn’t look like the same pitcher in 2016. In 2015, he threw 232 innings, with a 2.48 ERA, 216 strikeouts (8.39 per 9 innings), 51 walks (1.98 per 9 innings), and a 20-8 record. So far in 2016, he has thrown 50 innings, with a 5.58 ERA, 42 strikeouts (7.56 per 9 innings), 22 walks (3.96 per 9 innings), and a 2-5 record. Based on these statistics, there is a clear problem. So is it time to start worrying about this decline in Keuchel’s production?

When diving into the analytics of his velocity, pitch selection, and pitch location, there are a few red flags. The first red flag is the significant drop in his velocity. In 2015, his four-seam fastball averaged 89.6 MPH, his two-seam fastball averaged 89.5 MPH, and his cut-fastball averaged 86.3 MPH. In 2016, he is averaging 88.4 MPH with his four-seam, 88.2 MPH with his two-seam, and 85.5 MPH with his cut-fastball.

 

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Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers Week Five Rankings: 5/2-5/8

Below you can find the two start pitchers for week five (5/2-5/8) and their match-ups. If you have any questions or comments about this article or fantasy baseball, please Tweet me @dynasty_digest. If you enjoyed this post, please follow my blog for more updates!

  1. Matt Harvey (vs. ATL/ @ SD)

  2. Dallas Keuchel (vs. MIN/ vs. SEA)

  3. Jake Arrieta (@ PIT/ vs. WAS)

  4. Johnny Cueto (@ CIN/ vs. COL)

  5. Gerrit Cole (vs. CHC/ @ STL)

 

To see the rest of the rankings, click the link below:

 

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Odds To Win The MLB 2016 World Series + Best And Worst Bets

The Mets made it to the World Series in 2015 after a subpar start heading into the Trade Deadline. With a ton of pitching and some decent positional players still on the roster, they could set themselves up for a lengthy run in the NL East. Especially if they can coordinate a couple of trades (Pitching for hitters).

The Mets made it to the World Series in 2015 after a subpar start heading into the Trade Deadline. With a ton of pitching and some decent positional players still on the roster, they could set themselves up for a lengthy run in the NL East. Especially if they can coordinate a couple of trades near the Trade Deadline.  While they may have started slow, the bats are alive and well, and the rotation should come around soon.  They are this week’s best odd.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

The Nationals asserted themselves on this leaderboard thanks to a quick start.  They were my 2nd best bet last week at +1100.  Now the odd at +650 is not worth any money at all.

Since Washington was able to play so well, this has created the perfect storm to put some more cash on the Mets.  At +1300, New York is just begging for a wager.

The strength of schedule to which the Nats have played has definitely factored in.  2 series versus the Braves and Marlins and one against the Phillies already, Dusty Baker‘s club has had about a ‘cupcake itinerary’ as you possibly could find.

It gets better for the District’s squad, as they go home for another series with Philadelphia – that comes on the heels of a weekend Interleague series versus the Twins.

If Washington wins those 2 series, they should be about 15 or 16 wins after 22 games.  They should cement themselves in the playoffs with an easy NL East opponents schedule all year.  I just want to see them play some tougher clubs.

The Mets offense has sprung to life behind the backs of Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker, David Wright and Michael Conforto.  When the Pitching Rotation settles in a little bit, they should take off.

While Washington is leading the Division, they have yet to face the NL reigning pennant winners.  The division win could come down to the 19 contests between the two clubs.

Terry Collins‘ team has 16 straight games versus squads with losing records.  While the Giants are capable of contending all year, New York should be able to match them well for pitching. Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball April 12, 2016 (Daily MLB AL/NL Pitcher + Hitter MVP’s) + 2016 #WOB Standings

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Matt Slocum / AP

Charlie Morton pitched shutout ball into the 7th, finishing 6 2/3 innings, 3 hits and 7 strikeouts, getting the 3-0 decision for Philadelphia over San Diego.

Trevor Brown continued his surprising power surge with a pair of homers and 4 RBI to lead the Giants to a 7-2 victory in Colorado.

Derek Holland gave the Rangers 6 2/3 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits and striking out 4 in the 8-0 blowout in Seattle.

Justin Upton went 4 for 5 with a homer, 2 RBI and 3 runs scored in the Tigers 8-2 win over Pittsburgh.

They all owned baseball on April 12, 2016.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings, plus see who gained 1/2 WOB’s – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON OR SCROLL DOWN.

Dallas Keuchel’s Dominating Spring Training Could Be The Start To Another Cy Young Award

Dallas Keuchel should be viewed as a top tier option in all fantasy leagues in 2016. He has proved over the past two seasons that he is a reliable option and is continuing to improve. The key for Keuchel to take the next step in fantasy leagues is to continue to see an increase in his strikeout rate. He increased this rate from 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings in 2014 to 8.4 per nine innings in 2015. If Keuchel can continue this trend and increase his strikeouts closer to 9 per nine innings in 2016, then his value will rise dramatically. As mentioned earlier, Keuchel has the supporting cast behind him to score runs, but he also has a great defense and a dominant bullpen behind him for support as well. All of these factors will come into play in 2016 and will help his cause to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards and lead the Houston Astros to a World Series title. Dallas Keuchel will open the season for the Houston Astros on the mound against the New York Yankees on April 4th at 1:05 PM EST. To read the rest of the article, please click the link below:

 

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Odds To Win The 2016 AL Cy Young In The MLB: Best And Worst Bets

Only a few missed starts over the last several years (in April and March) have stopped the lanky LHP from winning a Cy Young Award thus far. His favorite status is the proper odd - and he should be the #1 guy to win the Award. I hate betting on the favorite though, and in fact, will skip the 3 of the last 4 Cy Young winners on the list - by bypassing them for wagering.

Only a few missed starts over the last several years (in April and March) have stopped the lanky LHP from winning a Cy Young Award thus far. His favorite status is the proper odd – and he should be the #1 guy to win the Award. I hate betting on the favorite though, and in fact, will skip the 3 of the last 4 Cy Young winners on the list – by bypassing them for wagering.

Hunter Stokes (BBBA Featured Writer) 

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When gambling establishments put forth their player specials as this it is rarely ever worth it to go for the top 2 picks to win (value – wise).

This doesn’t mean the favorite still won’t win.

Take the ‘Junior Circuit’ Cy Young race for instance.  Chris Sale is listed as +300. whereas David Price and Corey Kluber are next with +350.  2015’s winner Dallas Keuchel is 4th at +700 – as is Felix Hernandez.

These five players represent three of the last 5 winners. Typically these guys would all be a great throw down for the Award again in 2016.

My pick for the Award would actually be Sale, who is always a ‘dead arm’ period per spring away from taking the honors as the best chucker in the American League.

I am not going to wager on any of those guys though. Read the rest of this entry

Chris Archer’s Hair vs. Dallas Keuchel’s Beard Battle

While many of my posts go very in depth on statistics and fantasy baseball talk, I want to take a moment to hear from my followers on their opinions on Chris Archer‘s mane hair and Dallas Keuchel‘s beard. These two guys have put some intense time and effort on the mound to become some of the most elite pitchers in the game, but they also have put a ton of time into their fierce and hairy look. I’m not sure how much effort truly goes into this (for all I know, they might just let it grow, but I would assume these guys have a method to keeping their manes in line), but it is impressive nonetheless. As you can see below, Chris Archer is already comparing the lengths of their hair to each other, but I want to know which pitcher has the best look on the mound when it comes to their hair. With that said, please vote at the link below

 

VOTE HERE

Why The Houston Astros Have The Brightest Future In Major League Baseball

The Houston Astros had some very rough years from 2011 to 2013 (162-324 record).

While this was a tough time for the Major League Organization, their Minor League affiliates were thriving. Luckily for the Astros, a lot of their young talent has made their way through the minors and has finally landed in the big leagues.

This youth movement has helped the team drastically. Many baseball experts and fans didn’t predict the Astros to compete in 2015, but they proved them wrong.

In 2015, they made the playoffs for the first time since 2005. They accomplished this feat while having the 6th youngest roster in Major League Baseball (Average age of 26.7 years old).

If the Astros were this successful with a roster with so little Major League experience, then can you imagine what they will do once their talent matures throughout the next few seasons?

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