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6 Non-Playoff MLB Teams Under the Most Pressure to Compete in 2017

The 2016 MLB postseason is officially in full swing as the remaining eight teams battle for the right to hoist the World Series trophy within the next few weeks. This also means that 22 other squads are already turning the page with their eyes set on making a run at October in 2017.

Every organization goes into a season with the best of intentions, but a lot can happen over 162 games – both good and bad. For a number of teams, the bad outweighed the good, which is why an invitation to play in the postseason never arrived in their respective mailboxes.

Here are six teams feeling a ton of pressure to compete and secure a spot in the playoffs next October:


Daily Fantasy MLB DFS Picks For Fanduel, DraftKings, and Fanpicks 7/9/16


DraftKings Daily Fantasy Baseball Lineup Picks (7/9/16): MLB DFS Advice

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Daily Matchups for 7/9/2016



Max Scherzer-  Easily the top pitcher on the day. Mets haven’t been hitting well of late. Should get plenty of strikeouts and a shot at the W.

Carlos Martinez- Brewers have combined to hit 13-56 of Martinez, and are one of the worst offenses vs. RHP’s this season.


Danny Salazar- Right  now the Yankees offense is a hot mess.  Only down fall here is they don’t strike out much, which limits his upside. More of a GPP play here.

Lance McCullers- McCullers has great strikeout numbers but at 4 walks per 9, it runs that pitch count up in a hurry  that being said, a matchup with Oakland could offer some nice fantasy value.


Rick Porcello- Only there Rays really have good match ups vs. the Boston righty, but the Rays as a whole have been horrible this season vs. righties. Porcello is in play in cash and GPP for  me today.




Jameson Taillon’s First MLB Win Took a While, But the Timing Was Perfect For the Pirates

From the moment he got drafted to the moment he officially earned his first big-league victory, this was not how Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon imagined it would all happen. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth the wait, though.

Expectations were high within seconds of him learning he was taken with the second overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft — right after Bryce Harper and right before Manny Machado. Those expectations continued growing after just 23 career minor league starts when analysts began mentioning him as one of baseball’s top 20 prospects. He continued proving those analysts right as he rose all the way up to Triple-A as a 21-year-old in 2013.

And then suddenly, everything had to be put on hold. In the blink of an eye, Taillon went from being a stud top prospect on the verge of his big-league debut to being sidelined with injuries for two full seasons.

Then, it happened – the call Taillon was anticipating on getting sometime during 2014 finally came on June 8 in front of the home crowd at PNC Park against the New York Mets. It wasn’t a Stephen Strasburg-like debut, but it wasn’t too shabby. The right-hander delivered a quality start by allowing three runs on six hits, two walks and three strikeouts in six innings of work.

Little did he know how soon and how important his second MLB start would be.


Pittsburgh Pirates Could See Great Return for David Freese

Even though the Pittsburgh Pirates just went through one of their most brutal stretches in recent memory, it is still too early to determine if they will be buyers or sellers at the 2016 MLB Trade Deadline.

With the two Wild-Card system, more teams remain competitive longer into the summer. This results in more trades, but also can result in teams who are likely out of it to hold onto their chips longer.

In the case of the 2016 Pirates, their best trade chip could be dealt in either scenario could be the steal of the trade season, should they decide to deal him.

A Bargain Like No Other

When the Pittsburgh Pirates signed David Freese to a 1-year/$3 million deal, many regarded it as a bargain. Our own Ethan Obstarczyk had this to say as he advocated the signing:

In the off chance that he remains unsigned once spring training gets underway, the Pirates should definitely consider offering him a relatively cheap one-year contract. His numbers as of late may not be up there with what he did in his heyday, but he would improve the team that Clint Hurdle puts on the field each day this summer.

-Ethan Obstarczyk

If we accept the common valuation of 1 WAR costs about $7 million, the signing has already paid for itself, as the 2011 World Series MVP has already put up a 1.5 WAR as per Baseball Reference. His slashline of .294/.374/.439 leaps off of the page after several down years. He has added a new position after transitioning over to first base with relative ease.


Yu Darvish Is Returning On Saturday… All Fantasy Owners Can Rejoice

Fantasy owners, the time has come, Yu Darvish will be making his season debut on Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Darvish is returning after 22 months of rehab following Tommy John Surgery.


He has made five rehab starts in the minor leagues and he has been very sharp. In those five starts, he has thrown 20 innings, with a 0.90 ERA, and 21 strikeouts. He has also hit 97 MPH with his fastball, which is a great sign of positive health. It looks like Darvish is back and ready to dominate for the Texas Rangers.


To view the rest of the article, click the link below:



Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Prospect, Jameson Taillon, Could Be The Next Big Fantasy Baseball Star

It is just a matter of time before Jameson Taillon finds himself standing on the mound in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform. For those who aren’t familiar with Taillon, it is time to get familiar. He was drafted in the first round (second overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010.


From 2011 to 2013, he shot up the organization and was on the fast track to a promotion to the big league team. Unfortunately, he was sidelined in 2014 after receiving Tommy John Surgery. Luckily for the Pirates, it looks like Taillon is back to his dominating ways since his recovery.


In 2016, he has thrown 49.1 innings, with a 1.82 ERA, 51 strikeouts, and only 5 walks in Triple-A. He is ready for the big leagues, it is just a matter of finding him a spot in the rotation for him. The Pirates’ rotation is currently filled by Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, Jon Niese, Jeff Locke, and Juan Nicasio.


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Do the Pittsburgh Pirates miss Jim Benedict?

Do the Pittsburgh Pirates miss pitching guru Jim Benedict more than expected?

This past off-season the Miami Marlins hired away former Pittsburgh Pirates’ pitching guru, Jim Benedict and named him their Vice President of Pitching Development, which is a new position specifically created for the for the former minor league pitcher turned advance scout. Despite being credited hand-in-hand with Ray Searage for their numerous reclamation projects, Benedict’s specific contributions were at times difficult to fully quantify.

With Bendict gone, the 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates have seen their pitching devolve from an area of strength to a current weakness. Is this simply due to the loss of Benedict? Or are there other factors at play? Can we draw any conclusions from Benedict’s new team’s performance?

2015 Staff Comparison

Last season the Pirates’ pitching staff was second in both ERA (3.21) and FIP (3.36) while the Marlins were eighth (4.02) and ninth (3.98) in those respective categories. The National League average was 3.90 for ERA and 3.88 for FIP.

FIP and ERA are only part of the story for these pitching staffs. The Pirates under Searage and Benedict became notorious for pitching inside as no team has hit more batters than the Pittsburgh Pirates since 2013. I decided to look at inner third strike totals (for both left- and right-handed hitters) in relation to the team’s FIP. As the Pirates used inside pitching so effectively under Bendeict and Searages’s philosophy, this may give us a good indicator on how much of an effect Bendict’s presence might bring about.

I used each team’s top three pitchers in terms of FIP for both 2015 and 2016. For the Pirates, 2015 looked like this:


The 2016 Pittsburgh Pirates are not a Shifty Bunch

The Pittsburgh Pirates are shifting less in 2016 and their pitching is worse. Are these two related?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have earned a reputation around the league of being a very analytical front office and with good reason. The team’s use of FIP and xFIP to find value starting pitching is well known, but the shift is where the Pirates really earned their stripes as a numbers-centric team.

From 2013-2015, the Pirates shifted a total of 2,446 times, which was good for third in all of baseball behind only the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays, two teams with sabermetric driven front offices of their own.

The 2016 season is about one month old and the Pirates shifting totals are way down from the past three seasons. They have shifted only 214 times, which is the 12th most in the league. The Pirates spent a lot of the offseason discussing their change in outfield defense by playing their outfielders a bit more shallow, but they most certainly did not mention using the shift less. What changed?

Over the winter, the Pirates traded Charlie Morton to the Philadelphia Phillies and A.J. Burnett retired. These two pitchers both have ground ball percentages over 50 percent, which is why the team used the shift very heavily in their starts. In their place, the team added Juan Nicasio and Jon Niese. Both pitchers get ground balls below 50 percent of the time. The rotation hold overs of Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano both also have ground ball rates below 50 percent. Only Jeff Locke (51 percent) has a ground ball rate of above 50 percent.

You hear Clint Hurdle talking about not trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, so it begs the question, are the Pirates shifting less because their rotation isn’t as ground ball-centric as in years past? The Pirates are generating less ground balls as a team this season, but despite that, their entire starting pitching rotation remains above the league average of 44 percent. Even though they are down with the loss of Morton and Burnett, they still are an above average team.


Josh Robbins’ MLB Fantasy Daily (DFS) Picks For FanDuel – 4/29/16 + Chase Field Scenario 2nd Lineup


Josh Robbins (Featured Fantasy Writer/ 

Hi, my name is Josh Robbins.  I would like to share my Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) strategy with you throughout the MLB season during weekdays.  Fanduel is my preferred game of skill.

Welcome to the 4th week of the 2016 MLB season.

3-Strikes: Here’s what you expect from my daily articles:

My Top 3 Starting Pitchers (aces, mid-level, bargain)

My Top 3 Stacking Options (multiple players from the same team)

My Top 3 BVP (Batter vs. Pitcher) Options Read the rest of this entry

The Pittsburgh Pirates roster that could have been

After a second consecutive exit from the playoffs by way of the wild card game, the Pittsburgh Pirates promised a bigger payroll this season, but could they have done better?


In December, Neal Huntington and Frank Connelly both hinted the Pirates target payroll would be approximately $105 million for opening day.  As it stands, the Pirates opening day payroll was about $100 million.

That wouldn’t be so bad if the team’s pitching staff wasn’t off to a rough start, the first base platoon partner wasn’t gone after two weeks, and the Cubs weren’t the center of the baseball universe at the moment.  The saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20,” but we consider what could have been if the Pirates had spent their money a little differently.

Let’s start with the breakdown of the opening day payroll broken down by position: (Note: Only players included on opening day 25-man roster/DL are included below.)



The rules for this little experiment are simple.  We cannot exceed $105 million, and our payroll has to include 28 players due to Jared Hughes, Elias Diaz, and Jung-Ho Kang starting the season on the major league disabled list.  If we choose any players the Pirates did not sign, we will assume the Pirates could have signed said player(s) to the same terms.  Knowing what we know now, here’s a look at what the Pirates roster could have been.


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