Transaction Scripts: Evan Gattis to Houston

Evan Gattis is presently the 7th catcher taken in NFBC ADP's but that number is sure to rise with the move to Houston.
Evan Gattis is presently the 7th catcher taken in NFBC ADP’s but that number is sure to rise with the move to Houston.

News broke in the afternoon about Evan Gattis being in Houston for a physical and by late in the evening it was confirmed that he indeed was being traded by Atlanta. The Braves will receive three more prospects as they continue an interesting offseason combined with stockpiling minor leaguers and signing veteran stopgaps for the upcoming season. As will be profiled, the big winner here in fantasy terms is Evan Gattis taking his powerful swing to the short left field fence in Minute Maid Park where he will take aim on the railroad tracks. On the other end of the spectrum is Freddie Freeman whose protection has been traded to San Diego (Justin Upton) and now Evan Gattis to Houston. It will be hard to project any improvement over last year’s stats for Freddie now that the Braves are in a complete rebuild and he will not be pitched to in any big situation this season.
But this is geared to look at how Evan Gattis can fare in Houston, so I will start by letting you know that the average distance of his fly balls hit last year traveled on average 300.63 feet which ranked him eleventh in the major leagues, two spots ahead of former teammate Justin Upton. Using ESPN’s home run tracker, I made the following overlay showing what his 2014 home runs would look like in Minute Maid Park here:
Evan Gattis Astro Overlay
Observing the overlay is nice but here is a picture of Minute Maid with the dimensions displayed with the distances of the fences along with the knowledge of how far an average fly ball by Gattis travels:
Minute Maid Park with Dimensions
It also helps to take note of where Evan Gattis hits the ball. According the chart courtesy of MLBFarm.com, it is pretty clear that Gattis is a pull hitter:
Gattis hit location chart
So we can see that if and when Gattis puts the ball into play, he will have a chance to hit home runs. While the move to Houston does help his fantasy prospects for 2015, what effect will it have upon his draft or auction status? In last week’s published money NFBC drafts, Gattis was the seventh catcher drafted with an average ADP of 124.31 going one pick after Salvador Perez and one before Yadier Molina. I can see a case being made to move Gattis up to the top five in catcher rankings and I would have a hard time taking Brian McCann ahead of him. Over the past two seasons Gattis has hit 43 home runs in 213 games played. That ties him with McCann for second for catchers over this time frame and the only player they trail is Carlos Santana who will not have catcher eligibility in leagues with a 20 game minimum.
Even if Gattis maintains his 16.8 HR/AB ratio his projections have to rise in Houston. However, this is a matter of health. Last year he only played in 108 games but if he can adjust to some left field and get some at bats at designated hitter, Gattis should eclipse that number. For projections, it will be all about the at bats. With simple extrapolation 400 at bats would equate to 24 home runs, 450 to 27 and 500 to 30, but this ignores the ballpark effects. According to Fangraphs.com’s ball park effects numbers Atlanta rates as a 99 for home runs and 97 for right handed hitters. But Houston jumps to 105 for home runs and 104 for right handed batters. The ballpark alone should account for about two more home runs per jump in at bats which could move Gattis projections to 26 for 400 at bats, 29 in 450 and 32 if he could get 500 in 2015. These may be on the aggressive side of projecting but if you are paying for 24 home runs and he hits 32 then profit is generated.
It will be interesting to see if his move has any real effect on his ADP in tonight’s FSTA draft which is the first one that gives insight to how experts value players. I venture to say he will jump into the top five drafted and with people worried about Devin Mesoraco’s regression this year, Gattis could be, dare I say a top three option at his position. Here are some of his early projections:
Gattis Projections
If you are in a league that uses on base percentage, then some of Evan Gattis’ value is taken away but at a time when power hitters are in high demand, this is a relative inexpensive chance today at one. With health he and Matt Wieters are relative sleepers at this point according to ADP’s. What is nice about his projections, they sort of represent the three scenarios that Gattis could provide. CBS shows a possible peak, Steamer is where I can see him getting realistically and ZiPS shows the worst case scenario. Personally I will buy Gattis for the Steamer projection but if he jumps his home run totals into the 30-32 range, it would not be a surprise.

Braves Prospects

It would appear that the Braves were dead set upon restocking the farm system this off-season. By moving Gattis, this cements the plan and the Braves did receive three more prospects acquiring Mike Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz and Andrew Thurman. According to MiLB.com Foltynewicz moves into the second slot for Braves prospects and Rio Ruiz to number six so netting two top ten minor leaguers for a power hitter may be enough in return. Houston does have third baseman prospects still in the system so Ruiz was a player they could afford to part ways with. For fantasy purposes, Mike Foltynewicz is the most likely to appear in 2015 so I will focus on his move to Atlanta.
Moving to a better pitcher’s ballpark and the National League has to improve Foltynewicz’s fantasy stock going forward. He has a blazing fastball along with a curve and changeup as can be seen in the chart below thanks to BrooksBaseball.net:
Foltynewecz Pitch Speeds
My concern about him is can he throw enough strikes to remain a starting pitcher? The talent is there, but his career WHIP of 1.4 in the minor leagues is concerning and frustrating. Foltynewicz was able to strike out ten hitters in a game but his 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio in AAA last year is cause for concern. I can see two outcomes with Folty moving forward: a viable number four starting pitcher for the Braves or their eventual replacement for Craig Kimbrel at closer if they trade him. But the latest tweet by their beat writer Mark Bowman is a head scratcher to me:

I do not see how this Braves team as presently built can compete in 2015. As much as I like Freddie Freeman, Alex Wood, Julio Teheran and Craig Kimbrel, that is not enough to make the Braves a playoff contender. Jim Callis likes how the Braves have rebuilt their farm system:

So why not continue doing that and build for 2016. Signing Nick Markakis and A.J. Pierzynski is not enough to replace the losses of Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Evan Gattis. I think the A’s last year showed that pitching is not enough to win a playoff series or one game play in. A team needs balance and not only does the Braves lack it, there is room for much improvement.
Statistical Credits:
Baseball-Reference.com, ESPN.go.com Hit Tracker, Fangraphs.com, Steamer Projections, CBSsports.com, BrooksBaseball.net
Picture Credit:
Evan Gattis pic: http://www.foxsports.com/content/dam/fsdigital/RSN/South/2014/2/14/PI-MLB-Atlanta-Braves-Evan-Gattis-021414.jpg
Greg Jewett is the senior fantasy writer for the Sports Script and you can follow him on Twitter @gjewett9

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Top DFS Plays for 08/16/14

*Top hitters and pitchers highlight exceptional matchups that may include stars, lesser-known players and those on your waiver wires.

When I put together my top hitters and pitchers I factor in several things. First, prior matchup history, whether the hitter is hot and the pitcher’s history against that type of batter. Also, these matchups are normally released in the morning so make sure that you double-check the weather leading up to games in case they were postponed or the player got the day off.

New to Daily Fantasy? Head over to FanDuel.com and use Promo Code SCRIPT and get 100% match on your first deposit!

Top DFS hitters for today:

Miguel Cabrera vs. Felix Hernandez – hitting .417 (10/24) with 2 2Bs, 2 RBIs & 3 BBs
One of the best hitters in baseball vs. One of the best pitchers….. This is going to be a fun matchup.

Alex Gordon vs. Phil Hughes – hitting .333 (8/24) with 2 2Bs, 4 RBIs & 2 BBs

Josh Donaldson vs. Julio Teheran – no previous history
Donaldson is hitting .417 (10/24) with 2 HRs and 6 RBIs over the last week. DONALDSON IS GOING YARD TONIGHT FOLKS!!!!!

Starlin Castro vs. Jonathon Niese – hitting .313 (5/16) with a 3B, a HR & 5 RBIs

Adrian Gonzalez vs. Yovani Gallardo – hitting .286 (4/14) with a 3B, a HR, 4 RBIs & a BB
Matchup might not look enticing but Gonzo is the hottest hitter in baseball, he is hitting .500 with 2 HRs & 9 RBIs this week.

Ricky’s HR Guarantee: Josh Donaldson

Top DFS Pitcher for today:

Clayton Kershaw vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Do I really need to explain this one?

Sonny Gray vs. Atlanta Braves – Gray is 5-2 with a 2.39 ERA on the road this season and the Braves aren’t playing good baseball right now.

Movie of the day: One Hour Photo – One of Robin Williams weirdest performances. It was such a dark movie and he just was so good in this film.

Follow me on Twitter @Rickygangster!

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers

The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered me (Ricky Valero), Matt Bell and Matt Wincherauk as we are going to take a look at the Starting Pitchers.

5 Questions surrounding Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitchers

1 – Which player or players are you targeting?

Ricky – Jered Weaver – While the dip in strikeouts is a concern as they have dropped steadily from the 9 K/9 in 2010 to 6 K/9 last season.  But what I do like is the fact you are getting a guy with 10+ wins in 8 straight seasons, a guy with a career 3.24 ERA and someone with a low WHIP over the course of the past 4 seasons (1.06 WHIP).  You can have him in the 9th or 10th round and I think he will easily surpass his ADP this season.

Matt Bell – The pitchers that I’m targeting to fill my starting roles are of course the obvious guys just like the other positions. I’m not going to jump on a guy like Kershaw or any of those, but rather try to find value in the starting position later on. The guy I’m targeting most is Jose Fernandez as I was really impressed with this young pitcher last year and think he can do big things this year. He had a 2.19 ERA and averaged over 9 strikeouts per 9 innings last year. He’s young and should only get better as a pitcher at this point in his career. I think he could put up big numbers and be hand a few rounds later than Kershaw.

Matt Wincherauk – Jose Fernandez is a guy I’m going to try to target in a number of my drafts. He’s got a great park to pitch in, had a great year last year, and should only continue to improve. He might not get a ton of wins considering how bad his team is, but he should still have top flight numbers.

2 – Which player are you staying away from?

Ricky – Max Scherzer – He has huge regression written all over him this season. He had an unreal 2013 season which was topped off with winning the Cy Young and with that he is being drafted among the top 5 or 6 pitchers. The price is too high and he will come back down to earth this season.

Matt Bell – The pitcher I will probably avoid most for my drafts is Cliff Lee. He’s 35 years old and pitching for a Phillies team that doesn’t have a ton of offense. They struggle at times to give him run support which is something I want to see when taking a pitcher as early as where Cliff Lee projects.

Matt Wincherauk – I’m going to avoid Gio Gonzalez. Last year was a good indicator that he wasn’t an ace, and more just a solid second option. Yet people are probably going to see a bounce back year to prominence this year. I don’t trust him, and will try to avoid him if I can.

3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?

Ricky – Sonny Gray – In 10 starts last season he was a big time player and I think heading into 2014 he is going to pick up where he left off. He averaged over 1 strikeout per nine as well as he held a 3.35 K/B ratio. I expect a tiny regression and a slight rise in the ERA but expect him to be among the top 20 pitchers for 2014.

Matt Bell – The sleeper for me at starting pitcher I’ll have to admit is sort of homer type pick, but I’m really high on Michael Wacha this year. He had an amazing postseason going 4-1 and striking out 33 hitters over that time. He will be in the Cardinals rotation for a full season this year and with the lineup he has behind him could rack up quite a few wins.

Matt Wincherauk – I think Michael Wacha has to be a guy that will go under the radar a bit. I see some of the bigger sites and writers having him barely crack their top 50. I’m very willing to take a risk on him as my 3rd pitcher, as he could be one of the next major star pitchers in this league after what we saw from him in the playoffs. I’m willing to take a bit of a risk on him, in order to get potentially a huge reward.

4 – Which player will be a bust for Fantasy owners?

Ricky – You could really go with Scherzer here as well but one guy I am looking at is Jose Fernandez. He brought some nasty stuff to the table in 2013 and impressed the heck out of me. But I think we need to be tempered with expectations for 2014 for him. While I think he will be a top 20 pitcher, he is being drafted among the élite and I just haven’t seen enough and he does play for a Marlins team that isn’t going to be very good again this season.

Matt Bell – The biggest bust at pitcher for me this year is Fransisco Liriano. He’s had an ERA over 5 for 4 of the last 5 seasons, but brought false hope to owner with one really good year last year. He went 16-8 last year and while the strike out numbers will still be there I don’t think he can hold the ERA to around 3 against. He will struggle to pick up 16 wins again next year hurting his value fantasy wise.

Matt Wincherauk – One guy I’m not willing to trust is Masahiro Tanaka, and I believe people might get a bit too jumpy on his staggering numbers overseas. He’s obviously coming in and pitching against better competition, and has to do so in one of the most hitter friendly ballparks in baseball. He won’t be a huge bust, but I think he will be a bit of a disappointment.

5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.

Ricky – I like Justin Verlander to bounce back and win 18 games with an ERA under 3.10.

Matt Bell – The bold prediction for the starting pitchers this year is that Strasburg comes back after a full year back and shows why everyone was hyped on him. I’m going to say he comes up to the top competing with Kershaw for a chance as the CY Young winner in the NL this year.

Matt Wincherauk – Max Scherzer’s gaudy numbers from last year will take a significant hit. He won’t top 15 wins, and his strikeout numbers, and ERA will also drop.

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster @mattbell211 & @TheMattyWin and we will answer any and all questions.

Want to help support the Sports Script? You ever buy anything from Amazon? Just use our link and we get a little kick back to support the site! Sports Script Amazon Link

2014 Fantasy Baseball Starting Pitcher Rankings

MLB season is upon us and Fantasy Baseball is back and better than ever! Over the next few weeks we are planning on getting you ready for any of the upcoming Fantasy drafts that you have. This week we are sending out our initial 2014 rankings that will be updated as Spring Training progresses. The week after we are going to answer 5 questions about each position as well as giving you some insight into some players that we like as well. Matt Bell is joining me today as we rank Starting Pitchers as well as take a look at one guy we like higher than his ADP and one we have lower than his ADP.

2014 Fantasy Baseball Starting Picther Rankings (as of 2/24/14)
*Cole Hamels dropped in the rankings due to reports he will not pitch in the 1st month of the season

Rank Ricky Valero  Matt Bell 
1 Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw
2 Adam Wainwright Yu Darvis
3 Yu Darvish Stephen Strasburg
4 Cliff Lee Adam Wainwright
5 Felix Hernandez Chris Sale
6 Madison Bumgarner Felix Hernandez
7 Max Scherzer Jose Fernandez
8 Zack Greinke David Price
9 David Price Max Scherzer
10 Chris Sale Justin Verlander
11 Jose Fernandez Cliff Lee
12 Stephen Strasburg Madison Bumgarner
13 Anibal Sánchez Zack Greinke
14 Gio Gonzalez Anibal Sánchez
15 Justin Verlander Gio Gonzalez
16 James Shields James Shields
17 Mat Latos Hisashi Iwakuma
18 Cole Hamels Gerrit Cole
19 Mike Minor Shelby Miller
20 Hisashi Iwakuma Mat Latos
21 Gerrit Cole Cole Hamels
22 Jered Weaver Mike Minor
23 Shelby Miller Jered Weaver
24 Homer Bailey Homer Bailey 
25 Jordan Zimmerman Jordan Zimmerman
26 Matt Moore Matt Moore
27 Matt Cain Matt Cain
28 Masahiro Tanaka Hyun-Jin Ryu
29 Hyun-Jin Ryu Masahiro Tanka
30 Alex Cobb Alex Cobb
31 Doug Fister  Julio Teheran
32 Julio Teheran Doug Fister
33 RA Dickey Hiroki Kuroda
34 Hiroki Kuroda RA Dickey
35 Kris Medlen Patrick Corbin
36 CC Sabathia Michael Wacha
37 Johnny Cueto  Kris Medlen 
38 Patrick Corbin Johnny Cueto
39 CJ Wilson CC Sabathia
40 Francisco Liriano CJ Wilson 
41 Zack Wheeler Franciso Liriano
42 Michael Wacha Zack Wheeler
43 Jon Lester Sonny Gray
44 Sonny Gray  Andrew Cashner
45 Andrew Cashner Jon Lester
46 Jeff Samardzija Matt Garza
47 Matt Garza Jeff Samadzija
48 Clay Buchholz Clay Bucholz
49 Jarod Parker Jarod Parker
50 Lance Lynn Tony Ciniragi 
51 Justin Masterson Justin Masterson
52 Jake Peavy Lance Lynn
53 Dan Straley Dan Straley
54 AJ Burnett Jake Peavy 
55 Chris Archer Chris Archer
56 John Lackey John Lackey
57 Chris Tillman Bartolo Colon
58 Tony Ciniragi  Aj Burnett
59 Bartolo Colon Chris Tillman
60 Dan Haren Dan Haren

Why I ranked (blank) higher than his Current ADP (ADP average comes from the rankings at Fantasypros.com)

Ricky – Zack Greinke – Current ADP 13th – I have him 8th – Post All-Star he was 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA and .98 WHIP. He will pick up where he left off in 2013. I really like him ahead of guys like Strasburg, Fernandez and even Scherzer all of whom are being drafted ahead of him.

Matt Bell – Chris Sale comes in a bit higher in my rankings at number 5 while carrying an ADP of 10th. He’s going to be one of the first pitchers I’ll target this year based on where I can grab him in drafts. He can rack up the strike outs and keeps the ERA low enough to dominate the starting pitching categories. The problem last year was his lack of offense from the White Sox and if he can get some run support a  15 to 20 win season is not out of the question for Sale.

Why I ranked (blank) lower than his current ADP.

Ricky – Stephen Strasburg – Current ADP 6 – I have him ranked 12th – It’s crazy how his split at home and are so different. He was 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA at home and 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA on the road. He ranks in the same boat as Harper this season. Both have all the potential in the world but I am not riding the boom or bust wagon for either of them this year.

Matt Bell – Cole Hamels is the biggest dropper from my rankings at 21 with an ADP of 14th. The drop in my rankings isn’t all about the fact of Hamels declining, but it’s more about the fact that he’s just not dominant with the Phillies offense to justify a higher pitcher ranking for me. Hamels has to do better than his 3.6 ERA he carried last year to be a worthy fantasy pitcher this year.

In case you missed these, here are my Catcher Rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BY), 1st baseman (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-BZ), 2nd baseman rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-C2), 3rd Baseman Rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-C7), Shortstop rankings(http://wp.me/p2MUTr-Cb) and Outfield rankings (http://wp.me/p2MUTr-Ch).

If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster and I will answer any and all questions.

Want to help support the Sports Script? You ever buy anything from Amazon? Just use our link and we get a little kick back to support the site! Sports Script Amazon Link