Goodbye Jose Fernandez

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By hueytaxi on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I have struggled over the past few days as to what to write about the loss of Jose Fernandez. Still as I am typing this am unsure what to really say. We knew so little about him, yet he was such a great personality in the sport we love.

He played every game like it was his last and had one every step of the way. He was a boy at hear, but a man on the field. There were times that his energy got him in trouble, but he was never the type that intentionally acted out. He was admired by Cuban’s everywhere as one of their own who made the American dream a reality.

If you weren’t aware Fernandez tried four times to escape Cuba, failing in the first three attempts. In his fourth attempt at 15 he finally made it. On that journey he had to rescue his mother who fell out of the boat an in to the water. Surely an experience like that made a strong bond even stronger. It’s a shame that the water that lead carried him to freedom, also took him from us.

He was beloved by his team, coaches and front office personnel. It has been easy to see what his teammates like Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Marcel Ozuna and others thought of him by their tweets, Instagram photos and reactions on the field Monday. He was loved by the entire MLB family.

We never will know what he could have been, a Cy Young winner, hall of famer, greatest pitcher we ever saw. But the memories we do have were impressive and won’t soon be forgotten.

Rest in peace Jose, we won’t soon forget you.

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Waiver Wire Add, Randal Grichuk

Randal Grichuk came in to the 2016 season with a lot of hype coming off of a break out season in 2015, but we soon found out that past performance doesn’t always lead to future success. Grichuk started the season with a .206 batting average and eight home runs in 62 games, with a horrible .276 OBP and .392 slugging percentage. This lead to him being demoted to Triple-A to try and find his swing. After being recalled on July 5th he lasted another 22 games before his second demotion of the season. This wasn’t the last we would see of him in St. Louis, but by this point many fantasy owners had already give up on a repeat of 2015 and some may have considered him a bust.

Randal Grichuk
By Minda Haas Kuhlmann on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Nine games later Grichuk was recalled again on August 11th. Since then he has been a man on fire. His triple slash line since the promotion is .341/.356/.886. He has five home runs, seven doubles and a triple. To go along with those numbers, he has 11 RBI and 7 runs. He has been hitting the ball well and playing daily for the Cardinals and has begun to give fantasy owners new hope. Though he still doesn’t walk enough, one walk in 12 games, and strikes out way too much, 15 K’s in 12 games, he is putting the bat to the ball and raised his contact rate to 70%. Currently Mike Matheny has been batting him in the 7th or 8th spot in the Cardinals lineup, but other than Matt Carpenter there is no one in St. Louis’s batting order that would stop Matheny from moving Grichuk to the top third giving him even more fantasy value.

Grichuk is owned in less than 50% of all CBSSports.com leagues and should be owned moving forward in at least 70% of leagues. Don’t forget he came in to 2016 owned in 89% of leagues and has already moved up from his lowest ownership percentage of 30% quite a bit. If he is on your waiver wire, make sure you pounce while you still can.

(Players to drop for Randall Grichuk: Giancarlo Stanton, Max Kepler, Andrew Benintendi, Josh Reddick, Michael Saunders.)

Stanton to the DL, Again!

images-2_1Fragile is defined as easily broken, shattered, or damaged. For years I have defended Giancarlo Stanton and made the claim that his injuries are just bad luck and not because he is fragile. Finally it is time to reverse course. Stanton is fragile.

Once again Giancarlo will spend time on the disabled list this season. In Saturday’s game he limped off the field in the ninth inning with a groin injury and today we learned that he will go on the 15-day DL. We still don’t know the extent of the latest injury, but an MRI will be done soon to give the team a better idea as to what they are dealing with.

Stanton made his major league debut in 2010 with the Marlins as a 20 year old. In his rookie season he played in 100 games. In 2011 he played in a career high 150 games. Over his seven year career Stanton has played in 811 games, an average of 116 games per season. He has spent time on the disabled list in parts of multiple seasons. In 2011 he battled leg and eye injuries, 2012 knee soreness, 2013 a grade two hamstring injury, 2014 he was hit in the face by a Mike Fiers pitch and 2015 he broke the hamate bone in his left hand.

Stanton has tremendous talent and has been an all-star three out of the seven years he has been in the league, but none of that does any good if he can stay on the field and play. There is a saying in sports, the best ability is availability, and clearly Stanton does not always possess that ability.

How to Discount Players Based on Injuries

With the recent injury to Giancarlo Stanton I began to ask myself how I would value him in next year’s fantasy baseball draft? This lead to me thinking about how to value injured players in general when they are coming off of injuries.

Some of the players that come to mind are Clayton Kershaw, Michael Brantley and Matt Harvey. All of these players are coming off of injuries that have caused them to miss significant time in the 2016 season. So, when it comes down to draft day in 2017 where do we pick these players?

Every player is different. Obvious right? It is so true though when it comes to how you judge a player based on injuries. Kershaw for example has missed time because of his back over the past two seasons, but even with that there is no one who would not take him as the number one pitcher off the board and there is no way he should go past the second round.

Stanton and Harvey, however, are both very different. Both of them have a history of injuries and have missed significant time because of those injuries. To properly rate these players you have to take their history in to consideration and in the case of Stanton I would likely drop him from a first round pick to a third or fourth round pick because of his history.

Even though history is not a perfect forecaster of the future when I comes to predicting if a player is likely to miss playing time due to an injury the best resource we have is to look at their past history. Keep that in mind when you sit down and draft in 2017.

Your Still Sleeping on Broxton

images_4_origEarlier this week I posted the blog below on Keon Broxton, but I had to post it again because many of you have not received the memo. This kid is a speedster and if you are in a roto league he needs to be added. In the past seven games he has stolen six bases (he actually only played in six of those seven games). He has had two games in the past seven where he stole two bases in the same game. Oh and by the way he has only been caught stealing one time in 18 attempts.

Not only is Broxton full of speed, but the Brewers have shown they will run whenever they can. If you don’t believe me just look at Jonathan Villar and the amazing season he is having on the base paths. In CBSSports.com leagues Broxton is widely available with a 19% ownership rate and that needs to jump closer to 40%. Any team that is suffering for steals should snatch this guy up before your competition does.

 For more on Broxton read the blog post below.

If you are still in the running in your fantasy baseball league, then you are likely looking for any player that can help get you over the finish line. Maybe you just lost Giancarlo Stanton, like me, for the season and need to find an outfielder to replace him. Of course there is no replacing Stanton, but don’t sleep on picking up Keon Broxton.

Broxton was traded to Milwaukee in the offseason by Pittsburgh and was a sleeper steals source coming in to 2016, but he struggled early in the season and ended up going down to Triple-A. Recently he found his way back to the big league club and is making the most of this opportunity. In the past 30 games Broxton is has a .367/.475/.633 slash line with seven stolen bases and two home runs. He jumps around the batting order even hitting lead-off at times. His strikeout rate has to improve to keep up what his current level of performance, but even if it only comes down a little his elite walk rate of 15.6% makes him a great on-base guy with a ton of speed.

Critics will warn you that Domingo Santana is on his way back from injury and that may cut in to playing time for Broxton, but if he continues to have a 1.108 OPS like he has over the past 30 games there is no way the Brewers can keep him out of the lineup.