Homers and Whiffs: A 2014 Fantasy Baseball Update
The season is a third of the way complete, and as I like to do every season it is also a great time to look at my preseason rankings to find my Homers and Whiffs so far in 2014. Finding the players I hit out of the ballpark, and of course, those I swung and missed on. I will list three of each for this particular article, and will likely update again at the 3/4 point of the Fantasy Season.
Every Fantasy owner knows the Baseball season can be long and grueling. Players have hot and cold streaks and there are owners who drop players too soon, or possibly hold on to for too long. I am as guilty as most, and this will hopefully remind everyone that things change quick, you shouldn’t get attached to some players, and most importantly…have fun! If you really like a player and have blind faith he will turn his season around then stash him on your bench. If you have a player you drafted simply because of ranking and they stink?? Well you may need to cut bait if you haven’t already, or if they have name value try shopping them.
I have never had problems making bold claims, or hold unrealistic expectations when it comes to Fantasy Sports, but I also know when I miss and am always willing to eat my words. That doesn’t also mean that I can’t celebrate the calls that are close, or dead on throughout the season. That is part of the fun of rankings, writing, and playing the game we all love. Enjoy the post, and feel free to leave some of your Homers and Whiffs as well in the comments section.
All statistics provided by fangraphs.com
3. Brad Miller
My goodness the high hopes for Miller myself and so many had after his first season in 2013. I had him ranked as 12th Second Baseman and 13th Shortstop. I drafted him in a majority of my leagues, and let’s just say I am nauseated looking at his year to date numbers. Even a fantastic turn around will be too late, and in anything besides Dynasty formats I have dropped him. Total bummer.
Hitting .173 with 4 HR, and 15 RBI is not what I was expecting. A slash line of .247/.278/.525 is nothing special either. I am sure there are plenty of Seattle fans calling him “Bad Miller” right about now ( I know lame joke).
2. Justin Verlander
Verlander has 6 wins but his overall numbers are a tad scary to me. I was expecting Verlander to be a potential first tier, and rock solid second tier pitcher this season. He seemed to have righted the ship late in 2013, and I was targeting him in all of my leagues.
His numbers are not terrible, but concerning. His K/9 rate is down to 6.49 which is the third lowest of his career. His xFIP of 4.58 is nearly a point higher than his previous four seasons. He is also walking more batters.
Some of his numbers are still solid HR/9 and LOB%, but either way, I am not getting as much as I expected from Verlander especially where I drafted him. Still time for a turn a round, but he looks like the third wheel in that Tigers rotation right now.
1. Jedd Gyorko
If you have followed me on Twitter, read my posts, or rankings at all you likely know I love Jedd Gyorko. I had the highest hopes (perhaps in the industry) for him this season. I ranked him as the 4th overall Second Baseman this season, and I am thinking it should have been 400th!
The worst part is I own Gyorko and Miller on many of my teams! Can you imagine? Honestly, you could almost cut and paste Miller’s numbers in place of Gyorko’sthey are just as lousy.
Gyorko is hitting .162 with 5 HR, and 24 RBI. However, his K% is at 25 and with a slash line of .213/.270/.482 Gyorko owners have either kicked him to the curb, or are pulling their hair out in dynasty formats. His strikeouts were alright when he was smashing the ball and hitting alright, but this season has been rancid.
I of course have faith in a turn around. I have to now, but my panic button has been pressed.
3. Hunter Pence
“Pence is so Vanilla” “He’s boring” “He just doesn’t do anything with elite skills” and so on and so on. This offseason I encountered plenty of Pence nay-sayers and I stuck to my guns, not expecting the world or a breakout season, but more of the same. That is what Pence does plain and simple. The thing is, when a player does something over and over again, and it ends up being 25 plus Home Runs, and 20 plus stolen bases? Well, that is great. I want that boring guy on my team every year.
So far, he is doing just that with 7 Home Runs and 7 stolen bases to date. Slashing .357/.453/.810 isn’t vanilla to me, it is rock solid and top 20 outfielder numbers. Where Pence belongs.
2. Julio Teheran
I ranked Teheran in the 80 range overall this offseason. I don’t think it was higher or lower in any extreme, but I could tell in mock drafts, and real leagues I was taking him higher than others would have.
Teheran has not disappointed in the least, and is the number six overall starter to date. Sensing a breakout caliber season I targeted Teheran heavily and am loving his 7 K/9 ratio and 2.15 BB/9 ratio. Throw in an ERA under 2 and we have a bonafide top 10 pitcher on our hands, and hopefully on your Fantasy rosters.
1. Nelson Cruz
This had less to do with offseason rankings, as much as some Twitter wars over Cruz’s potential. I went on a limb “Guaranteeing” 30 Home Runs from Cruz this season. The reason I was being called crazy? Cruz has never hit 30 Home Runs in a season since 2009, and his power numbers have slowly dwindled over his past three seasons.
The other reason I was crazy. He is injury prone, this is true, however I figured as a DH the likelihood of injuries would be greatly reduced. So far so good, and don’t look now, but Cruz is the #1 Hitter in fantasy right now, thanks in part to his 21 Home Runs in 55 games. Not too shabby, Cruz has always been a great hitter, so the main weakness has been staying on the field. I can’t lie and say I predicted this performance so far, but heck I will take it.
I bought, and I hope you did too. In fact I may print out a few shirts saying “Cruz hit 30 plus in 2014!” If you own him, let me know if you want one!