Whoa. The next time I do one of these posts, it will be September. It seems like yesterday I got Giancarlo Stanton auto-drafted onto two teams which got me into a three-day alcoholic binge.
With most leagues past their trade deadlines, it’s just you and the waiver wire for the rest of the season. Hopefully you’re still in a position to at least place in your leagues, if not gunning for the title. So let’s stop with the jibber jabber and see what’s been going on.
Khris Davis is khrushing the ball
He’s just khruising in August (Davis, OF-MIL)
In what will undoubtedly lead to parents with the last name Davis naming their kids Ckhris, there’s been three Davis’s (Davisii?) contributing to fantasy this year: Obviously Crush Davis is one of the top players in fantasy, Rajai Davis is second in the MLB with 40 steals, and now Khris Davis of the Milwaukee Brewers is the #14 outfielder over the last month on ESPN’s player rater and Top-5 over the last couple of weeks. With a slash line of .314/.388/.674 and 8 home runs and 18 RBIs in just 86 at-bats this season, it’s easy to see why.
Here’s the thing: If you’re still, by some miracle, in a league that allows trades, sell now. This is a guy who had 17 home runs in 356 at-bats in the Pacific Coast League (AAA), or one every 50ish at-bats. For those unfamiliar, the PCL is a bandbox league and greatly inflated offensive numbers are expected. So for a guy to go from one home run every 50 ABs in that league to one every 11 ABs in the majors is a huge stroke of luck. It’s been a great ride, and he seems like he could be a fine baseball player in real terms, but he’s nowhere this good in fantasy. Not only that, but he was on the big club back in April as a bench player and went 16 at-bats without a home run and added one as a call-up in the middle of July. So really, since his recent call-up, he has 8 home runs in 69 ABs, or one every 8.6 ABs. The other home run-hitting Davis, Crush, has averaged 10.2 AB/HR on the season.
If you’re just looking for a quick fill-in, Davis could keep this up for another week or so maybe. But any hopes that he’s going to sustain this for the rest of the season are seriously misguided. He could be a nice bench player in the future – he has a career 1.61 K/BB ratio in the minors which indicates a pretty good eye – but his 2012 Orioles dust is going to wear off soon and he will come crashing back down to Earth. He’s still only 41% owned in Yahoo leagues, so if you need a push for this week, I’d be all for it. I wouldn’t count on him come September, though.
Disabled pitchers return; are very abled
Two pitchers I was targeting in the preseason were Jon Niese and Marco Estrada. I like them for different reasons, but I thought they’d both be good SP5 or SP6. Oh wow was I wrong.
It was a very, very ugly start to the season for both of these guys. Here are their numbers before they went on the disabled list (Estrada for the second time):
Niese: 77 IP, 4.33 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 49 K
Estrada: 69.1 IP, 5.32 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 62 K
They both struggled, they both were not what I expected them to be. I had pegged at Niese on continuing to improve as he had in the past: His xFIP dropped from 4.13 in 2009 to 3.64 last year and he had a career-best ERA of 3.40 in 2012. Estrada had generally had high HR rates (it’s now 1.37 HR/9 for his career) but his low walk-rates (2.38 BB/9) meant I could live with the long-ball, probably. However, both of Estrada’s H/9 and HR/9 reached career-highs and that’s never a good combination.
Both players went on the DL for different reasons and since they have returned, both have been exceptional:
Niese: 28 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 28 K
Estrada: 24 IP, 1.88 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 21 K
Granted, these are small sample sizes (four starts each), but they have both rebounded remarkably.
Neither of these guys will keep up these exceptional numbers, but both have the ability to do what I thought they could do: At least be Top-60 pitchers the rest of the season and hopefully Top-50. Estrada (13.1% ESPN, 39% Yahoo!) is more readily available than Niese is (56.4% ESPN, 48% Yahoo!) but both are worthy adds for an extra push in the final month and certainly for head-to-head playoffs.
Troutin’ Every Damn Day
I desperately want one of these hats.
To trout someone, in local lingo, means to really fuck someone over on something that’s relatively insignificant to you, but can be a huge deal to someone else. Did you go to a strip club with your buddies, one of whom is married? To trout him out would be by telling his wife (or worse, one of her friends).
I have to think that some fantasy analysts were really trying to trout people by down-playing Mike Trout before the season. I know Mr. Ray Flowers recently owned up to it on BaseballGuys and even I personally had him at #5 overall on FantasyPros, behind where most other fanalysts had him. I didn’t take my own advice.
In a chat about draft preparation before the season started, I had an offline conversation with the owner of this website, Mr. Nick Raducanu, about the value of Trout going into the season. It’s no secret that X likes him (he had him at #1 on FantasyPros) and the reasoning we came to on why he definitely wouldn’t flame out was this: We expected, at worst, a good Carlos Gonzalez-esque season from Trout this year, something along the lines of CarGo’s 2012 season: .303/22 HR/85 RBI/89 R/20 SB. That “at-worst” scenario for Trout landed CarGo as a Top-10 OF in 2012 and a Top-20 hitter overall. For us, that was worst-case.
Best-case? Probably better than what he’s doing this year, which is pretty astounding considering he has a higher batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage right now than he did last year. His steals haven’t been where we’d like them – with 28 right now, he’ll be hard-pressed to get to 40, which is kind of what I was hoping for – but he’s been exceptional.
Not every player repeats performances like Mike Trout did in 2012. What we have to understand is that just because a rookie has a great season it doesn’t mean he can’t do better. Albert Pujols finished second in MVP voting in his sophomore season; Alex Rodriguez’s season after his rookie campaign was one of the best of his career; Ryan Braun’s BA and consequently his OPS dropped from his rookie to his second season, although he still managed to hit 37 home runs and knock in 106. Just because a player finds success early doesn’t mean he can’t again, it has to be taken on a case-by-case basis. Even if he did fall off a bit (as I noted in the CarGo comparison), he was still going to be one of the best. It’s time we stopped trouting each other. But you sir, Trouty20, Trout on my man. Trout all the damn day.