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Fantasy owners need to treat their players as assets.

You pay for their future performance, not what has been done already. What they have done in the past and their acquisition price are both sunk costs.

Player values, like stock prices, adjust based on performance and emotion. The best deals come when everyone else is a buyer and you are the only seller, and vice versa.

We will start off this week looking into the Miami bullpen.

Then we will take a peek at a pair of highly drafted, but struggling players. Finally, this week’s deep dive will take a look at some team hitting rankings so far this year.

Fantasy Lookout: Trouble Brewing With the Fish

The Miami Marlins have had trouble holding ninth inning leads so far this year. That falls on Steve Cishek, who had been a solid closer over the past few years. Cishek has already blown four saves this year, that same number he blew all of last year. His velocity has been down this year and his performance has faltered.

Now, who is next in line? It sounds like a committee approach will be taken initially; however, I believe that the Fish will settle on a single closer.

Let’s take a look at the relevant numbers for all the potential candidates.

Player IP ERA WHIP K-BB% LOB% BABIP LD% GB/FB SwStr%
A.J. Ramos 17.0 1.06 0.82 23.1% 86.7% .216 21.6% 1.42 16.1%
Bryan Morris 16.2 4.32 1.92 7.7% 75.2% .415 22.6% 4.86 10.5%
Mike Dunn 12.2 4.26 1.18 9.6% 68.5% .257 13.9% 1.21 9.1%
Steve Cishek 11.1 10.32 2.03 8.6% 49.5% .371 25.0% 0.69 8.8%

Mike Dunn has been the setup guy recently, but he is a lefty and his numbers have not been great this year. A.J. Ramos has the best numbers by far out of anyone in the Marlins pen. I think he gets the longest look. One thing to note is that Ramos has a history of being a little wild, but so far this year he seems to have that under control.

Bryan Morris is another option, but he has been inferior to Ramos. Also, Rafael Soriano is still a free agent and he is a potential candidate as well. I would take a shot with Ramos.

Corey Kluber, SP, Cleveland Indians

Kluber has struggled in the early going this year, not counting Wednesday’s 18-strikeout game, coming off his breakout campaign last year. With an ERA north of 5.00 and a WHIP close to 1.40, his numbers do not resemble that of an ace that most people expected. However, when you dig under the surface, his peripherals all look quite similar to last year’s Cy Young season.

Year ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 LOB% BABIP LD% GB% FB% SwStr%
2013 3.85 1.26 8.31 2.02 72.9% .329 25.9% 45.5% 28.5% 10.4%
2014 2.44 1.09 10.27 1.95 78.6% .316 21.4% 48.0% 30.6% 11.9%
2015 5.04 1.39 9.27 2.22 62.3% .364 23.4% 48.4% 28.1% 12.7%

The two stats that jump out at you help explain why he has limped out of the gate. His LOB% near 60% and a BABIP over .360 both suggest bad luck and that positive regression is on the way. He actually has a career high swinging strike rate so an increase in K/9 could also be on the horizon. One chink in the armor appears to be Kluber’s inability to get left handers out.

Check out the chart below comparing his 2015 splits to his career splits.

vs LHB vs LHB vs LHB vs RHB vs RHB vs RHB
WHIP AVG BABIP WHIP AVG BABIP
2015 1.93 .333 .424 0.96 .236 .302
Career 1.38 .270 .347 1.07 .242 .310

His numbers against righties are right at his career norms, while his numbers against lefties are much weaker. I assume this will correct itself, as it appears a little luck driven given the insanely high BABIP.

Small sample size could also be a factor since we are only dealing with 101 left handed batters faced. If a Kluber owner is worried, pounce and buy with confidence.

Victor Martinez, 1B/DH, Detroit Tigers

Year AVG BB% K% BABIP LD% GB/FB HR/FB SwStr%
2015 .235 11.6% 8.3% .245 18.9% 1.20 2.9% 4.9%
Career .305 9.5% 10.4% .314 20.8% 1.18 10.5% 4.9%

Victor Martinez has gotten off to a slow start and his off-season knee surgery is probably to blame. He missed most of spring training and it appears just now that he is starting to feel more comfortable at the plate. When you look at his overall numbers it looks like poor luck is mostly to blame for his slow start. His strikeout vs walk ratio and swinging strike rates are both better than his career averages. His batting average has been hampered by relatively low BABIP.

The real impact of his wonky knee shows up in his righty/lefty splits. Martinez is batting .462 against LHP, while only hitting a meager .158 against RHP. For his career, Martinez has hit .307 against LHP and .304 against RHP. As his knee feels better I believe Martinez’s power and overall batting profile will return to his career norms. I think Martinez makes a great trade target for those in need of a high average, run producing hitter.

Deep Dive

Let’s now dig into some team hitting stats. These can be used to help with streaming decisions and whether or not to potentially sit a marginal starter on your roster. I have used OPS since it incorporates batting average, walks, and power all into one statistic. Let’s look at the numbers for a few different scenarios: overall, home, away, vs RHP, and vs LHP. I have included the top and bottom five for each of the statistical groupings.

Overall
Team OPS Team OPS
Dodgers .842 Brewers .663
Royals .778 Pirates .656
Blue Jays .770 Mets .655
Orioles .763 Angels .640
Rockies .752 Phillies .615

 

Home
Team OPS Team OPS
Dodgers .890 Rays .677
Orioles .889 Pirates .670
Blue Jays .830 Angels .659
Rockies .804 Astros .635
Twins .776 Phillies .604

 

Away
Team OPS Team OPS
Royals .788 Phillies .626
Dodgers .786 Angels .619
Yankees .759 Mets .617
Astros .758 Twins .607
Tigers .753 Brewers .607

 

RHP
Team OPS Team OPS
Dodgers .858 Pirates .660
Cardinals .776 Mets .644
Rockies .774 Rangers .634
Orioles .773 Angels .614
Athletics .765 Phillies .586

 

LHP
Team OPS Team OPS
Blue Jays .884 Red Sox .638
Royals .809 Pirates .631
Tigers .773 Brewers .615
Dodgers .768 White Sox .537
Cubs .767 Athletics .533

A few things jump out at me. You basically want to avoid the Dodgers in any scenario. The Astros like to hit away from Minute Maid Park. The Pirates are equally inept against both righties and lefties. The Angels’ offense is not great, despite having the consensus number one hitter in the game, Mike Trout. Finally, the Phillies, to no one’s surprise, are just bad.

I think that the right/left split data is most relevant since batting lineups are usually adjusted in advance of facing a certain handed starting pitcher. Many teams use platoons more and more to gain an advantage. I will update these charts fairly often throughout the season.

Conclusion

Think of your team as a portfolio and your players as stocks. Buy low, sell high, and enjoy the profits. Going against the herd is not always a bad thing. People love to focus on the past, when the key is really what the future holds.

Until next week’s Fantasy Lookout, enjoy the games!

Data courtesy of www.fangraphs.com and www.espn.com

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