Daily Fantasy Baseball must starts: Sunday September 2nd

Daily Fantasy BaseballThe Atlanta Braves will continue to make noise in the NL playoff picture while two other players come into action with very little risk and plenty of reward potential.

Value plays:

Brian McCann and Chipper Jones – Cole Hamels has been battling a stomach virus, and a trip to Atlanta isn’t going to make the 28 year old stud feel a whole lot better. The power packed middle of the Braves order owns a .299 career average against Hamels with 59% of their hits going for extra bases. Both McCann and Jones have a slugging percentage over .540 with 22 RBI on 29 hits, providing me with confidence that they can produce in fantasy baseball leagues. The Braves 3-4 hitters have hit half of Atlanta’s homers against Hamels, and with a proven batting eye (14 walks compared to 17 strikeouts) their ceiling is a high one.

Kelly Shoppach – The Mets catcher is actually have a solid season (batting 33 points higher than his career average) and has had great career numbers against Mark Buehrle. Shoppach is batting .444 against the crafty lefty, with an other worldly 1.222 slugging percentage. Half of his hits have left the ballpark, a big reason why he has more RBI (10) than hits (8). Catcher is a tough position to get consistent production, so I’ll take a player who has dominated the projected starter as my backstop tonight. Read more…

2012 MLB trade deadline: Buyers, sellers

Cole HamelsWith the Major League Baseball trade deadline quickly approaching GMs around the league are scrambling to better position their team for success through the barrage of deals that inevitably takes place right up to the eleventh hour. For some clubs the quest is to secure the missing piece that can elevate them from a solid frontrunner to a championship contender while others on the flip side of the coin who are going nowhere will look to invest in their future by unloading current talent in exchange for a wealth of prospects. This week we’ll take a look at teams who are likely to be involved on both sides of the equation, buyers first.

Baltimore Orioles

At 46-42 and in the midst of their best season in recent memory the Orioles are currently holding on to the final AL Wild Card spot by the slimmest of margins, 0.5 games over a trio of challengers in Detroit, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. With overtaking the Yankees for the division title looking to be an unlikely scenario, the O’s chance to make their first playoff appearance since 1997 hinges on distancing themselves from the Wild Card pack, a task that just became more difficult with the news that pitcher Jason Hammel will miss at least three weeks after undergoing knee surgery to remove loose cartilage.1 Aside from Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen the O’s rotation has struggled mightily this season, so adding a proven arm would help the Birds greatly. ESPN’s Jayson Stark recently reported via Twitter that Baltimore is eyeing Mariners ace Jason Vargas as their top candidate to bolster the rotation. With leadoff hitter Nolan Reimold a victim of the injury bug as well and out for the season, Baltimore could also benefit from adding a solid top-of-the-lineup bat, as they have yet to find someone to fill Reimold’s shoes with any consistency. Making a move on either front will require Baltimore to part with multiple prospects but as a franchise that has been through more than its share of dark days recently expect the Orioles to be serious bidders in hopes of keeping their playoff aspirations in flight.   Read More…

Most undervalued pitchers in baseball

When you think about what defines a major league pitcher as having value, there are several things that come to mind.  Topping the list is total number of wins, strikeouts, and of course, earned run average (E.R.A.), however only one of these is an accurate illustration of a pitcher’s overall strength and value.  Let me explain: The number of wins a pitcher gets for his team can be misleading, dependent on his teammates run support during each of his outings.  The number of strikeouts that a pitcher throws can be a bit of a flashy stat, as an out is an out.  When it comes down to it, E.R.A. is the primary element that determines a pitcher’s value to his team.  It cancels out the defensive troubles a team may have, as well as the offense (or lack thereof) that a pitcher may have backing him.  In the end, the E.R.A. that a pitcher posts is the truest measure of his success for that season, and best reflects his overall value.
Over the last 2 complete seasons (excluding the current 2012 season), there have been exactly 10 pitchers in the MLB who have finished the season in the top 25 in E.R.A.  The challenge that I have for all readers right now is to list those 10 pitchers without scrolling down to find the answers.  Being able to name even 7 of these pitchers is an impressive feat, and getting 8 or more is phenomenal.  Go ahead and try to make a list right now…